TIPS FOR COACHING GENERATION Y
Coaching can be a difficult task, especially when you consider all the planning, nurturing, and guiding that comes with the position. What can make your job even more challenging is the process of building a good rapport between you and your players.
If you feel like you’re not getting your message across to your players successfully, then the generation gap between you and your players could be a big part of the problem. While this can be very frustrating, instead of quitting or getting mad at your players, it’s much more constructive to try to understand them first.
Most, if not all of your players right now belong to the so-called Generation Y, sometimes referred to as the Boomerang Generation or as the Millenials. We’ll talk more about this generation later. First, lets take a look at why it is important to understand them better.
There are actually a number of very good reasons. The first big one is eliminating misunderstandings between you and your players. You may feel like you’re not on the same page at all times, but it could be just that they see things a little differently than you do. Being able to see things from their perspective, or at least understanding how their view may be different, can help reduce misunderstandings and miscommunication between you and your players.
Another reason is so you can build a better methods of coaching. Some of your techniques may have worked in the past (example, shouting at your players), but they may not work quite as well with the current generation of players. Understanding this generation better can help you develop more effective coaching techniques.
Finally, improved understanding between you and your players helps create a more positive atmosphere among the team. If you want a team that works together well, then it’s important to foster team unity among your players.
WHO’S GENERATION Y?
Now that we’ve taken a look at why understanding Generation Y is important, let’s talk about who belongs to this generation.
Experts have yet to agree on a date, but those commonly referred to as Generation Y are those born sometime between the mid 1980s and the late 1990s. This is a vast age range that covers most people who are in their teens to late 20s.
CHARACTERISTICS OF GENERATION Y
It’s not only age that defines this generation. There are also certain characteristics that they share in common. Knowing what these characteristics are will help build an even better understanding of your Gen Y players.
Some of these characteristics include:
1. Influenced by their peers. Although members of this generation have been bombarded by different forms of media, they mostly rely on their peers for opinion on a lot of things-from what decisions to make, to what clothes to wear.
2. Looking for guidance. This generation may have been labeled as rebels who have no respect for authority, but they do know how to show respect to mentors and guides with whom they can identify with.
3. Focus on the short term. Growing up in a world where technology has been changing so fast, members of Generation Y understand very well that what is definite is only the here and now. Therefore, they are easily bored by things that are far off in the future, as they could not relate to it.
4. They want spontaneity, interaction, and the truth. These people want their facts raw and unrehearsed. They won’t listen to anyone who sounds phony.
5. Adept at using new technology. Generation Y is the generation that’s said to be the first to enjoy the internet and the things that are associated with it: websites, social media, online videos, and mp3s.
COACHING GENERATION Y PLAYERS
Now that you know what the common characteristics are of Generation Y players. Here are some tips that will help you coach them better and build better rapport with them.
Be understanding and honest. This generation is looking for someone to look up to. As a coach, you could be that role model and mentor that your players have been looking for, so don’t disappoint them. Be more understanding towards them, and always be honest with them.
Once again, try to understand that the time and age you grew up in is a lot different from the environment they have now. So always try to see where your players are coming from.
Focus on the short term as well as the long term. Long term plans bore your players, but you know that you also need to have this kind of plans. To make them more receptive to your long term plans, give them short term goals to aim for, be it the state championship or even just winning the next 3 games. The effect will eventually trickle down on your overall plan.
Make their experience enjoyable. Softball is just a game, in case you have forgotten that. This is even more important to your players who are often after fun and enjoyment. So from the practices to actual game situations, make these activities enjoyable and you’ll see positive results.
Make use of new media. There’s probably no better way to build rapport with them than show your players you can interact with them using new technology. Creating an online discussion board, chatting with them, or being their friends on social media sites like Facebook would be a good start.
In short, be cool. Show them that you can identify with them so that they will be able to identify with you too. It’s not as difficult as it sounds. All you need is to open up your mind and accept your players for who they really are. Everything will follow.