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Who are the people behind Future Stars? Meet Charlie VanDercook

We are excited to bring you inspiring interviews with some of our key family members! To kick off our interview series, we’re talking to the patriarch of it all, Co-founder Charlie VanDercook.

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On any given day during the summers, Charlie can be seen playing tennis with a 7 year old, jumping into a 4 v 4 soccer game, challenging a 14 year old to a push up competition, or simply introducing himself to kids at all of our locations. What is not seen by everyone, is that Charlie has already paddle-boarded for an hour before camp and will go for a mountain bike ride after all the kids go home. His love for sports and physical activities is contagious but even more remarkable is his positive outlook and encouragement to the children.

Youth athletics brings in adults from a variety of backgrounds. From former athletes to educators, you’ll find a winning array of stories when you speak to coaches, staff members, directors and anyone else who has anything to do with helping young people develop their athletic talents. With that in mind, we wanted to know a little bit about Charlie’s background and how he ended up with Future Stars.

On his own background in sports, Charlie said, “I grew up playing all kinds of sports as a kid.” After trying a lot of different sports, he eventually focused on tennis. He played one year of college tennis and spent one season on the 1976 WATCH circuit.

When asked what drew him back to youth sports as an adult, Charlie told us, “I grew up playing tennis and became a tennis instructor. Teaching and coaching kids was a big part of my day and I gravitated to the students.” He went on to add, “I guess I’ve always been a kid myself and love playing games, and I brought that love of the game (tennis) to my junior students in the way of games.”

Charlie’s career didn’t stop at being an instructor – obviously. “I was Director of Tennis at a club in Lake Placid, New York.” While there, he directed the junior tennis camp, a junior program, and organized tennis tournaments. Following this, he was hired as Director of Tennis at the Banksville Racquet Club in Banksville, New York. “The biggest part of our business and our emphasis was on the junior program, where there were 350 participants. I was good at relating to kids, and they liked being with me. I made tennis fun and had aptitude as a teacher.” Between his own athletic background, instructing and directing, Charlie was well-versed in youth sports when he co-founded Future Stars!

Working in youth sports takes a certain love of the game. It also requires adults to consider what they think children can learn from athletics. We asked Charlie, what he thinks children can get out of youth sports?  He said, “Children learn life lessons and most everything about life through playing sports. The fun of striving and competing, and loving the process.” Our Co-founder of Future Stars knows kids can also take away, “The satisfaction of trying your best, whether you win or lose. Learning it takes hard work and tons of practice to achieve goals. They learn to respect the game, the coach, their teammates and opponents.”

The children aren’t the only ones who are reaping the benefits out of sports, and out of Future Stars. Charlie notes, “The biggest reward that I’ve received in my life is that after running Future Stars for 36 years is that, I’ve come into the second generation of campers. Parents that attended are now sending their kids to the camp, because they love Future Stars and they fondly remember their experiences.” And incredibly, Charlie not only remembers these campers’ names after all of these years, but he can tell stories about them from 30 years ago, both on and off the tennis court.

What he’s found particular gratifying is, “The kids I coached come to see me after 20 years, and show me pictures of their kids – relating their stories and giving me credit for shaping their success.” From his early days as a tennis player to inspiring generations of children, Charlie VanDercook has dedicated his personal and professional life to the game!

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Image Credit:  Charlie VanDercook

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Parent or Coach? What Happens When You’re Both?

Parental involvement is key at every level. At school. Obviously, at home. And, when it comes to sports, too. But, what happens when you move from the sidelines and onto the field? That’s right – you’re the coach and a parent at the same time. Not only are you rooting for your child, but you have a whole team of children to help, too. Understanding how this balancing act plays out on the field, and at home is all part of being both parent and coach.

Playing Favorites, or Not

It’s tempting to put your child first. That’s what you do all day. So it only makes sense that you keep going during the one hour you’re at practice or at a game. Right? You need to put the starters on the field, and your child is the natural choice. After all, you’ve always had a sneaking suspicion that they’re the best. Now you get to let them show it. The problem is, you’re looking at your child’s ability in a completely biased way. You see your child as perfect, even if they’re not. It’s totally understandable. That’s what parents do – they see their children as stars.

Now it’s time to take a step back. No one is saying that you bench your child just because you’re also the coach. It’s not a matter of going completely one way or the other. It’s a matter of being fair. This is a shining opportunity to teach your child a lesson, and act as a role model. That said, it’s completely possible that your child won’t understand when you put a teammate in the game. Instead of ignoring the situation, explain to your child that it’s your job to give everyone (this includes your child and everyone else on the team) a fair chance. This means no playing favorites, and it also means not doing the opposite. Assure your child that you won’t purposefully bench them just because you’re mom or dad.

Keeping the Team Separate

Your child doesn’t have your full attention when you’re playing the role of coach. It’s just a fact. You’ve got a group of kids to help, and that means focusing on each one of them. But, when you leave the field, or the court, or wherever else you’re playing, the attention needs to go back to your child. Leaving team talk at practice shows your child that you’re a parent first, and a coach second.

It’s perfectly okay to come home and tell the rest of the family about a game, or what a great job your child did. The important part here is to keep the focus on your child.

When Your Child Makes a Mistake

You haven’t been playing favorites, and are pretty proud of yourself. But, then it happens – your child makes a major mistake. There are three options when this happens. The first is to forget you’re on the field, go into mom or dad mode and shout something along the lines of, “You’re grounded”.  Okay, so that won’t work.

The second option is to flip back into mom or dad mode and rescue your child. Again, that won’t work either. The third option is to treat your child like you would any other team member. When another child storms off the field after missing a goal and screams, “That’s not fair!” at the player who stopped the ball, you talk to them about good sportsmanship. The same should go for your child, too.

Talking to Other Parents

Even if you’re the most equitable coach ever, some parents may still think you’re playing favorites. When your child plays for 31 minutes and their teammate only gets 30 minutes of game time, the teammate’s parent may say that you’re not being fair.

Create a set of fair play and fair treatment rules that you expect yourself and all of the team to follow. Explain these to the other parents, and invite them to ask questions, if they need to. Along with this, consider asking some of the other parents for their help. An assistant coach (or two) is always appreciated. And, with a few other moms or dads helping out, no one can say that you’re playing favorites.

Balancing your roles as parent and coach is a challenge. You want to be there for your child, but you also need to be there for all of the team. Yes, it can be stressful taking on both jobs at once. But, the rewards are worth it. Not only will you get to spend extra time with your child, but you get to act as a role model too!

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The How-To’s of Team Bonding

ten There’s no “I” in team. Right? Whether you’re a parent, a coach or a player, building a bond between team members is absolutely essential. Not only does team bonding foster good sportsmanship, but it also helps the players to develop their social skills. Along with these benefits, bonding brings the team together and helps them to act as a unit – instead of as individual players who happen to be on the same field or court. So, how can you help the team bond? Check out these ways for bringing the group together and creating that much-needed sense of unity.

Take the Pressure Off

There’s plenty of pressure on the field. When it comes to team bonding activities, taking some of the tension away and making things fun is key. Sure, when there’s a game, meet, match or tournament they focus on doing their best because they are competitors. That doesn’t mean it’s compete, compete, compete all of the time.

Team bonding activities create a sense of togetherness, in a competition-free environment. Let the kids relax, work together, and forget about the win. Make fun the name of the game during bonding activities. This may mean playing silly games (not necessarily the sport itself) or trying activities that encourage socialization over sports. Encourage the kids to let loose and put getting to know and trust each other over anything else.

Mix Things Up

Cliques are common in youth sports. They are also major issues in other areas (such as school). Don’t assume that just because all of the kids are on the same team that they are in the same athletic clique. Team-building and bonding should never equal creating an exclusive clique. You’re helping the team to gel, get along and work together.

It’s also likely that at least a few of the kids have come to the team as friends (or have become fast friends after joining the team). If there are a few mini-cliques on the team, help the players to mix things up and start socializing with some of the other kids (meaning the ones who aren’t in their clique). Let’s say three of them consider themselves best friends. While they’re nice or pleasant when it comes to interacting with the other team members on the soccer team, they mostly keep to their own little clique. This behavior makes bonding as a team difficult, if not impossible.

So, what do you do? You could try a team relay race, splitting the mini-clique up and putting them on teams with kids who they usually don’t talk to. By mixing them in with the other players, you’re helping everyone get to know each other – and reducing the risk of isolation.

Set a Goal

Working to reach a goal is a constructive way to bring the team together, without emphasizing direct competition. Technically the kids are competing. But, they’re not competing against each other and they’re not competing against another team. What they are competing against is an obstacle – an obstacle that they must all overcome together.

Whatever your team bonding activity of choice is, you can find a way to set a goal. Whether the team is going on a scavenger hunt or solving a puzzle together, there’s an objective for them to reach together. The key here is that the players work together. Not only are they learning how to get along with each other, but they are building the ability to take in different perspectives, and respect other people’s opinions. When they do reach that all-important goal, they’ll know that they did it together. That feeling of togetherness will continue both on and off of the field.

Building a team means more than just training or doing drills. It’s about coming together and creating a sense of unity. Taking the pressure off, getting rid of the cliques, and setting goals all add to the experience, and help the team to connect in a way that goes beyond the game.

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Communication is Key: The Parent-Coach Relationship

Your schedule is filled with parent-teacher conferences, and your inbox is packed with classroom newsletter emails. You’ve got the school thing covered when it comes to constant communication. But, what about your child’s coach? The parent-coach relationship is crucial to your child’s success. Understanding the what’s, when’s and why’s of communicating is the first step in developing this all-important relationship.

What Is Parent-Coach Communication?

Okay, so this one seems pretty self-explanatory. Obviously, parent-coach communication equals parents communicating with coaches, and vice-versa. That said, there are many different ways to communicate. The forms that communication takes include both in-person discussions as well as other, less face to face time. Phone calls, texts and emails are all ways that parents and coaches can connect, discuss the child’s progress and alert each other if there’s a problem or an issue.

Keep in mind, there’s a major difference between communicating with the coach and telling the coach how to do their job. If you have a question or you are unsure about why the coach made a specific decision – ask. Come from a place of understanding and wanting the best for your child, and not from a place of thinking that you know best. Let the coaches do their job and give them the chance to explain the why’s and what’s to you. While it’s perfectly okay to ask, telling and sounding accusatory won’t foster positive communication. You want to open up a helpful dialogue, and not alienate the coach.

When Does or Should Communication Take Place?

Communication can happen almost anytime. It can be in-depth (such as during a meeting or parent-teacher conference type of discussion) or less formal (such as in passing), “Great job coach!”. In-depth conversations and discussions that focus on a problem or serious issue typically require some sort of scheduling. Instead of waiting to talk to the coach at half-time or immediately after a game, call, email or text the coach and ask when they are free to meet with you. Make sure that you both have enough time to make the appointment worthwhile. This may mean blocking out a half hour or more in both schedules.

Less in-depth types of communication can happen through text or email, or surrounding game/practice times. Let’s say you want to know how long next weekend’s soccer tournament will be. Simply send an email and wait for a reply. Or, you can catch the coach after practice and ask your question.

You may also want to ask the coach what their preferred method of communication is before assuming that it’s okay to text or email any time that you want. Along with this, ask the coach when the best time is to contact them. Some coaches also have other jobs or have family commitments. If your child’s school soccer coach is also the social studies teacher, it’s not likely that they’ll pick up a phone call at 10 a.m. (or any time during the school day).

 

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Managing Heightened Emotions at Game Time

Everyone in the stands knows Danielle is one of the best basketball guards among all middle schools in the region. The desire within Danielle to be the best in hoops may also have jumped over into the young girl’s overall attitude. At first, her parents paid little attention to the occasional verbal outburst at officials and other players on her team.  However, the outward examples of her frustration are increasing and more noticeable to her coach, teammates and fans. What can be done to address a situation such as Danielle’s?

FIRST ON THE AGENDA

In his book, Whose Game is it, Anyway?, Dr. Richard Ginsburg devotes a chapter on the subject of emotional frustrations exhibited by participants in youth athletics. The author suggests parents should be very careful in their first approach to the situation. Do not make an immediate knee-jerk reaction. This can be difficult advice to follow as parents are themselves sometimes wrapped up in the game’s moment. Watching a child fail because of a referee’s decision or a mistake by the child’s teammate can cause a natural frustration for the parents as well. Ginsburg says it best, “The first reaction is no reaction.” In other words, parents need to take a deep breath and not add fuel to the fire.

REACTION BY THE COACH

After a child exhibits this frustration the parents must be prepared for what the athlete’s coach may do next. If it’s the first – or the second or the third – instance where this occurred, parents must accept a coach’s game-time decision. Whether the coach sits the child out for a few minutes, a quarter, or the rest of the game parents need to maintain their composure. Yelling from the stands will just make the matter worse. The time to address the coach’s reaction is not at the end of the game, either. Contact the coach the following day and set up a meeting to discuss the situation.

COMMUNICATING WITH THE CHILD

The advice from Ginsburg’s book is to take a ‘calm but firm’ approach with the young athlete. A good opening question may be as simple as, “What went through your mind to cause you to react in such a way?” Calmly asked it is immediately letting the child to explain his/her actions. Self-control is not an learned overnight.

“Without patience and willingness to provide explanations, setting firm limits can be meaningless and even destructive,” warns Ginsburg. In other words, parents need to have the open line of communication before determining what methods of correction to use.  This is also where the meeting with the coach comes to play. Consultation between the coach and parents can generate an effective way to correct the displays of frustration.

AVOID FEELING ‘HELPLESS’

Whatever steps to correct a child’s temper and frustration during a sporting event are decided upon, it is extremely important for the parents not to lose sight of the desired end result. As in many other facets of raising children, the old saying ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’ aptly fits. There may be ‘instant oatmeal’ but no one has figured out a way to package an ‘instant solution’ for a child’s emotions. If a child’s frustration bubbles over as a result of self-pressure it is going to take patience from parents and coaches in order for an effective change to occur.

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Welcoming New Teammates

Roger has been on the same basketball team for five years. In that time, he has made several friends and has even attended the same school as most of his teammates. Roger’s comfortable situation is about to change. His father’s promotion at work requires the family to move to another city. Amongst other things, a family’s relocation has immediate impact on a child’s athletic life.

Parents ‘Checklist’

Relocating brings about sudden changes in a child’s life. A new neighborhood, a new school, and a new sports team are just few of the changes coming to mind. It is natural to check out the schools and neighborhoods before moving, but for parents with children in sports activities it is just as important to do the homework on the athletic organizations of their new surroundings. While the web is a wonderful starting point in gathering information about teams, leagues and competitiveness; parents should also make direct contact to gather the necessary information. When speaking with an official of a prospective athletic organization, ask for a contact list of other parents or coaches on the team.

Parents: do not hold back on the questions.

Ask specific questions about coaching expectations, any past conflicts or incidences which have occurred and the overall goal for the players of the team. Is the organization built on winning games or developing individuals through athletics. Ask what each person likes best about the organization and the overall experience for the children. Don’t stop there. Ask the real estate agent if there is a personal connection with the organization, and if they can set up a short question and answer period over the phone. All of this assists parents in making the proper decision.

The ‘New Kid’

When a youth player like Roger joins a new team, there will be a short awkward period for the new player as well as the ‘new’ coach and ‘new’ teammates. Coaches must take the first step by properly introducing the player to teammates. The coach could also take it one step further and meet with the new parents one-on-one prior to the first practice. A natural next step is for the coach to introduce the ‘new’ parents to the parents of the other players. These easy guidelines will get rid of the awkwardness much quicker.

Coaches and parents should encourage the players to actively involve the ‘new’ player. Kids tend to do this anyway, but there are ways to expedite the process. Take the first 15 minutes of practice for every player to introduce themselves. Adding a simple ‘elevator speech,’ having the current players talk about what they like to do or what they like most about the team or sport can bring a sense of comfort to incoming new players.

Be Yourself

For the new player ‘in town’, the biggest advice is to “Be Yourself.” Do not try to come in as a know-it-all or as someone determined to ‘beat out’ the star player. Listen to the coaches, participate in drills, and interact with teammates in a positive manner. It will not be long until new friendships are developing and the ‘new’ team aura disappears. That’s when the sports activity gets the desired results – to compete and enjoy what you’re doing.

 

 

Communicating with the Coach

232323232fp83232>uqcshlukaxroqdfv7944=ot>2477=875=394=XROQDF>266-533924252ot1lsiThe coach isn’t just some person who stands in front of the kids barking orders. Children’s sports coaches are multi-talented leaders who are there to help their team succeed, teach the rules of the game, impart good sportsmanship and be supportive. That said, coaches aren’t perfect – and neither are you or your child. There will be times when you have to bring up a touchy subject or strike up a not-so-pleasant conversation. Knowing how to effectively communicate with the coach is a must-do for every parent of a young athlete.

Talk Off of the Field

You don’t appreciate the way that the coach just yelled at your child when he sat back and didn’t go after the soccer ball. Should you march up to him and speak your mind? Absolutely not. Unless something is happening that puts your child’s (or another child’s) safety in jeopardy, wait until the game is over. Waiting does two things: 1. It gives you time to calm down and think about what just happened. You can prepare what you are going to say and say it without blowing up., and 2. It doesn’t make you seem like ‘that’ parent. You know, the parent who flies off the handle and cusses out the coach in front of the team. Everyone, including your child, is watching you. Act as a role model, keep calm and wait for the right time to talk.

Set a Goal

Whether the problem is the coach’s or your child’s behavior, you need to have a clear goal in mind before starting a conversation. Obviously, coming up with a solution is the overriding objective for any communication with the coach. With that in mind, break the problem down into specific issues. For example, your child whines every time that he has to go to practice. The goals for your conversation with the coach might be to find out if there is a problem with your child and his teammates or get ideas on how to handle the whining.

Listen

What does your child’s coach have that you don’t? An insider’s opinion. The coach may see and know things about your child’s sports play that you don’t. Before jumping to point out flaws or correct coaching behavior, let the coach talk. For example, you’re not thrilled with the lack of playing time that your child is getting. You don’t understand why the coach isn’t putting your child on the field and you’re ready to do something about it. Step back and start by asking what’s going on. It’s possible that your child asked to sit out or that there’s a perfectly acceptable reason.

Work as a Team

Both you and the coach have one common goal – your child’s success. You’re a team, and need to act like one. Remind yourself (and the coach, if needed) that your child’s needs come first. Even if you don’t agree with everything the coach says, you need to keep an open mind.

Communicating with the coach is a fact of life when you’ve got a child who plays a sport. Initiating a conversation in an appropriate way and knowing what to say during your discussion can save time, face and your child’s team-time fun.

 

Keeping Sports Kid-Friendly

ry=400Unless your young child is on their way to the Olympics, sports should be more about fun and learning than the serious stuff! You’ve seen the parents on the sideline of the soccer field screaming “Go! Go! Go! Get that ball. Get that other kid out of the way!” And, that’s at a preschool game. Then there are the high-profile cases that the media picks up on (like the hockey dad who shattered the glass barrier). Instead of shouting, screaming and throwing tantrums to get your child at the top of their game, try the opposite. Keeping sports kid-friendly is a must-do when introducing athletics to young children. How can you help to keep the fun up and nix the training tirades?

Play Up Interests

Just because you’ve always imagined yourself as a pro basketball player, doesn’t mean that your child has to follow your footsteps. While giving your child options and exposing them to different types of sports is key, pushing them to play when they have absolutely no interest is a whole other issue. Imagine how you would feel if someone forced you to do something that you can’t stand. Would you think that the activity was fun or dread doing it? Your child feels the same way when you pick all their activities for them. Instead, try taking their opinion and interests into consideration.

Have Realistic Expectations

Not every child is meant to be a super-star athlete. While some kids excel at sports, others are not born-athletes. If your child isn’t the number one player, never scores a goal, often strikes out or doesn’t make the all-star team, don’t worry. This doesn’t mean that they have to quit. Set goals or expectations that don’t always involve winning or being in the front of the pack. For example, instead of expecting your 8-year-old to score four out of the five winning soccer goals, have more realistic goals such as try as hard as they can, stay active, support their team and show good sportsmanship.

Think About Age

Remember, we’re talking about ‘children’s sports’, and not pro football training. This is the time for your child to build a true love for the game, and not feel like he has to win, win, win. Take your child’s age and developmental level into consideration. Ask yourself if the sport, coaching and training/practices are appropriate for your child’s age. If any part of it is well out of your child’s league, it may be time to move on and try another activity.

Above all, keep a positive attitude and praise your child. Being the parent who is jumping onto the field, yelling at the coach or is barking orders is never fun – not for you and certainly not for your child.

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Helping a Shy Child Feel Comfortable On the Field

543Playing a sport might not require the same audacious personality that getting dramatic on the stage does, but for a child it can be just as scary. While sports build confidence and self-esteem, starting out with a shy or hesitant temperament is a hurdle for the child, parents, teammates and coaches. Does this mean that a shy child shouldn’t get active with athletics? Of course not! Parents and coaches can help a slow-to-warm-up child feel comfortable on the field with some careful planning and kind words.

What can you do to help your shy child?

Role Play

Your child may spend countless hours in the backyard kicking the soccer ball around, but when she gets on the field for real, your child seems scared. You know it’s not the actual athletic activity that frightens her. So, what is it? There is a coach giving her direction and teammates yelling her name. Shy kids may not know how to handle this social sporting situation. Set up a game at home in which you, your spouse and siblings (or a few family friends) play the roles of their coach and the other players. Role-play the game, focusing on how your child interacts with the other people on the field. The more practice your child gets, the more comfortable she will feel. This leaves her mind free to concentrate on the game, instead of on the social side of things.

Focus on the Pluses

Your child may not speak his mind and he often shies away from anything that’s unfamiliar. But, when it comes to hitting a ball he’s a homerun super-star. Find and focus on the positive parts of play for your child. If he excels at a sport, or a specific part of the sport, praise him. Keep in mind, not every child is a natural athlete. If your little slugger is still learning the game or isn’t the top player, you can still find a positive to point out. This could include his amazing effort, how well he focuses during game play or his good sportsmanship practices.

Hang Back

Shy children don’t want to be the center of attention. If the spotlight scares your child, don’t focus it on them. Although you want to cheer them on, don’t have to go overboard and embarrass them. Nix the high volume, “Yeah, you can do it! Get the goal! Make the shot!” screams as you run up and down the field alongside your child. Instead, hang back and provide praise in a low-key way.

Start Slow

If social situations challenge your child’s shyness, start with a single sport that he plays as an individual or go for private lessons. This isn’t to say that he can’t, or shouldn’t, play on a team. Instead, let him warm up to a sport through an activity that is one-on-one such as private tennis lessons.

Set Goals

Work together from the beginning to set realistic goals. For a shy child these may include asking the coach to play a favorite position or stepping up to bat with confidence.

Just because your child is shy doesn’t mean that she should skip sports. Ax the anxiety and help your child to enjoy athletic activities. The more comfortable they feel on the field, the more their self-confidence and esteem will grow!

Successful Coaches Also Mentor Athletes

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Synopsis: Whether you are coaching T-Ball or at the varsity high school level, your role as a leader of young athletes should extend far beyond teaching the sport fundamentals. Reaching out to today’s youth is not always an easy task, but as a coach you are in an advantageous position to become a mentor.

You may think the idea of a coach accepting the additional responsibility of mentorship is a relatively new concept. The fact is the coach/mentor tie-in has been around since the beginning of organized sports. Look at college basketball coach John Wooden and the NFL’s Vince Lombardi. While they are remembered for winning championships and building dynasties in their respective sports, they are praised more so for the way they delivered powerful life lessons to their players. The ‘Pyramid of Success’ developed by Wooden, and the motivational attitude of Lombardi remain valued sources of inspiration used by corporations and individuals.

Some coaches feel that mentoring a young athlete has to mirror the ways of the work world. A meeting is scheduled, a specific amount of time is blocked off on the daily planner and the two people meet face-to-face. Thankfully, this is not necessary and your mentoring sessions will come about in a casual, more organic way. A few minutes during a water break or a quick walk-up to the athlete while heading to the locker room can bring about surprising results. Players become comfortable around coaches, and learn to initiate such mentoring moments on their own.

The ‘mentor radar’ must always be on high alert with coaches. “How are your grades?” An easy question such as this while walking off the practice field is a great starting point. This quickly eliminates the barrier between the athlete and you. You are not talking about the practice mishaps. You are showing a personal interest in the player. A mentoring session is about listening and understanding what is going on inside your player’s head, and it does not have to be necessarily long.

There are ways to mentor athletes in small groups as well. After hitting fly balls to the outfielders, get them together and talk about something not related to sports. Open up short conversation about the latest movie, or an appropriate news event. Get your players to start interacting with each other. This will make it easier for them to approach you, both as a coach and as a mentor.

You want to keep the communication lines open, so be careful not to cut one of your players short when they approach you. When a player decides to confide in you about a personal issue, now is not the time to turn your back. Even if practice lasted twenty minutes longer than expected, and you are already late for the family dinner. If you fail to listen to your player, you’ll lose all the mentoring ground you have gained from past sessions.

The end of every practice should include insight directly involving your players. This is the time you may want to talk about issues that may be common among all players — for instance if a teacher or parent approached you regarding a few players who decide it is ‘cool’ to leave their lunch trays on the cafeteria tables instead of busing them. You don’t have to single out any of the players, but acknowledge you are aware of such inappropriate behavior and how this has an effect on how others view the team. Providing such positive leadership to youth can go a long way in terms of your players becoming better people overall.