This article on coaching young athletes is well worth reading.
The author, Jeff King, wrote out the "four C's" of coaching young athletes - Creativity/coaching (doubled up there . . . ), Commitment, Communication, and Consistency.
Some of those are pretty obvious, but with some interesting nuances. One I wanted to discuss here is communication. He mentions two aspects I think are critical:
- listening to the athletes. Not telling them what you can do for them, but listening to what they want and need.
- listening to the parents. This one is even more critical. If the parents aren't on board, it doesn't matter much what the athlete and you feel about the program and its results. Parents must be able to trust you with their kids. You need to carefully explain the program to them, sure, but more importantly you have to listen to their concerns and their needs. Get the parents on board with you and you'll have less trouble with the athlete as well.
Remember, it's not about you, it's about them.