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How to Become a Coach’s Favorite

coaches playing favorites

Fun can be the factor that helps reduce stress, and that in turn can often boost performance. That’s a recipe for success in sports and beyond.

“Playing favorites” is a common complaint you’ll often hear from parents and athletes. And the coach might actually agree with that assessment. From the coach’s perspective, he or she is playing the athletes deemed to be the most talented. But there are other factors at play in becoming a coach’s so-called “favorite.”

Instead of challenging a coach about a lack of playing time or a perceived lack of recognition on an athlete’s behalf, take advantage of this teachable moment to encourage your athlete to take these steps to develop the skills, traits and attitudes that may in turn change a coach’s attitude.

Communicate with the coach

Athletes should ask the coach what they can improve on and let the coach know that they will work hard to get a shot at more playing time. At the very least, these conversations will help keep an athlete on the coach’s radar and that may lead to more opportunities.  

Put in the extra time

Of course, actions always speak louder than words. Once making a commitment to the coach, it is up to the athlete to deliver. That means arriving early to practice or staying late in the gym. The extra time and effort an athlete puts in will help close the gap on their teammates and impress a coach with an exemplary work ethic.

Have a team-first attitude

Coaches love athletes who are all about the team and not themselves. They love players who take a positive, team-first approach — the ones who cheer on their teammates, volunteer to help, don’t slouch or pout if they are on the bench or rally the team during a game — and thus stand out in a positive way. Coaches will notice and often reward those contributing in a positive, unselfish way.

Work at having fun

Sometimes, it’s easy to get too wrapped up in competing and trying to win that we forget that sports are supposed to be fun. To have a truly rewarding sports experience, the goal should not to be perfect but to give 100 percent and do your best.

Fun can be the factor that helps reduce stress, and that in turn can often boost performance. That’s a recipe for success in sports and beyond.

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