Conquering The Three Biggest Issues With Volunteer Coaching at the YMCA

Youth Sports - A youth basketball team huddles up with their volunteer coach before the start of the basketball game at Kennett YMCA in Kennett Square, PA.

By Patrick Dugan, Association Sports Director for the YMCA of Greater Brandywine

I’ve worked for the YMCA for almost 20 years and until recently, was able to easily recruit parent volunteers to coach in our recreational sports leagues.

Volunteer coaching can be one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do in your lifetime. Check out one of our coaches’ first-hand experiences volunteering as a coach at the Y.

However, it seems that as each year passes, it becomes more difficult to encourage parents to coach, and I think that there are some issues out there that make parents hesitate to do so. Let's break them down.

Issue #1: Parents, families, and players don’t respect coaches like they used to. They all have their own agendas and are significantly more critical of their coaches’ every move than ever before. It’s not worth the hassle to deal with all of the scrutiny, negativity and criticism.

Reality: Poor behaviors and attitudes within youth sports may be more prevalent than in years past, but what better way to impact that in a positive way, than by coaching? Being a YMCA coach gives you the opportunity to model our core values (Honesty, Respect, Responsibility and Caring) to your players, show them how to deal with and overcome adversity, and how to grow a love for sport that can help keep them active for a lifetime.

Additionally, communication with team members and families, as well as a team meeting at the start of a season, where rules and expectations are laid out, can go a long way to making the season a pleasant one for everyone.

Issue # 2: I don’t have the time to be a volunteer coach.

Reality: If you break it down, there isn’t much of a time commitment at all. Coaching at the YMCA of Greater Brandywine requires about three hours per week of your time. A half hour to plan for practice, and an hour and fifteen minutes for one practice and one game. If you think about it, you would already be committed to the hour of practice and for the hour the game takes, so really, it would only amount to an extra hour a week.

Issue #3: I don’t know enough about the sport to be a great coach.

Reality: The YMCA of Greater Brandywine will give you all of the tools you need to be successful! We provide coach training, practice plans and everything else you will need to succeed. Think back to when you were young: were the best coaches you had experts in game play and executing Xs and Os or were they patient teachers that gave you positive feedback and encouraged you to do your best?

If you are interested in coaching or have additional questions about our youth sports leagues, please complete our interest form and a member of our staff will follow up with you.