Coaching and Mistakes

In youth sports, the way that a coach deals with mistakes is one of the great differentiating factors between coaches. Some view mistakes as something to eliminate; others view mistakes as part of the learning process, and an essential step, especially for young players. The coach’s viewpoint informs his coaching style and his or her communication with the players.

New U.S. Men’s National Team coach Jurgen Klinsmann¬†embraces mistakes, even with his professional players, provided that players respond to the mistakes properly:

“The players, step-by-step, will realize that I am somebody that will back them,” Klinsmann added. “For now, I let the younger [players] go out there and make mistakes, and I don’t scream at them and criticize them for that. I actually will encourage them, as long as after the mistake they run back and try to cover, as well. If they make a mistake, and they switch off their brain for 10 seconds, then the player has a problem with me, but positively a problem, because we will guide him then.”

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