There have been a lot of pieces written with advice for young coaches. The only downside is that a lot of times these are written by older coaches preaching to their younger counterparts like parents. Too many times, youth is discussed with a negative connotation along side words like inexperience, raw, or impatient. That what everyone says, right? “Millennials are always so impatient.” What young coaches should be asking, however, is, “How can I use my age as positive tool for my growth?”
- Relate to your athletes
Let’s face it young people get along a lot easier with other young people. Coaching is all about building relationships, and that is easier to do when the two parties are close in age. However, this DOES NOT mean be their best friend. You need to maintain the coach-athlete relationship that should operate on trust and solid communication. Young coaches should focus on building strong relationship, and use those relationships to enhance the training environment.
- Operate at a Fast Pace
Most of the time, younger professionals are better with technology and can operate at a much faster pace than their older peers. USE THIS TO YOUR ADVANTAGE. Be active on social media for both learning and exposure purposes. Exposure does not mean showing off. I mean use the proper platforms to share your knowledge and communicate with other coaches. Just because you are young does not mean that you do not have any value to bring to the profession. Add value across different platforms, and embrace the fast pace technical arena that you are comfortable in.
- Be Ambitious
Just because some coaches say that you need to do several internships, earn your stripes, and grind your life away does not mean that that should be your goal. I have seen too many young coaches go through 3-4 internships because some grumpy 40 year-old recommended it. Get an internship and work as hard as you can to get a Graduate Assistantship. When you EARN that, work as hard as you can to become an Assistant. After that happens, do the best job possible so that you can become a Director. Be ambitious and go get what you want out of this life.
From one young coach to others, our age is an advantage if used properly. We stand on the shoulders of giants, yet are not supposed to be clones of the giants. Be ambitious, be energetic, be innovative, be awesome.