10 Keys to Tournament Success

Ten Keys to Tournament Success

Let’s face it; everyone wants to be the winner. We strive and fight for the top place in our league, but sometimes there is just one thing: you lose. Oh the horror. Here are some tips to keep you in tip-top shape for winning the next one.

1) Winning Can Sometimes Mean Losing

In order to grow as a team sometimes it is necessary to lose as a team before you can win the big one. Professional sports have provided a number of examples over the years of undefeated teams that fall short at the sports biggest stage (with the exception of the 1972 Miami Dolphins). A team must first learn how to lose before they can learn how to win. If you don’t have an appreciation for adversity than when faced with a difficult task the group will struggle to perform at their best.

2) Choose the Right Hotel for your Team

Youth Sports generates nearly $10 billion annually and the success of a tournament can be largely impacted by its hotel options and the service provided by accommodation partners. Choosing the right team to manage your tournament hotels is essential. An unhappy hotel guest means pushes biased opinions onto the event for the athletes, coaches, and parents which affects the overall experience.

3) Choose the right competition

Find the right balance when entering a tournament. Selecting a tournament that challenges your team is essential for growth, but selecting an event that your team isn’t ready for could have lasting effects on performance and morale.

4) Keep the Parents out of it

If you have ever coached or even taught for that matter you know its impossible to keep your distance from parents who insist its your fault and not the child’s. Keep parents as far away from the team as possible for as long as possible, unless your team is lucky enough to be a tight knit group. Encourage your parents to stay positive when they do speak with their child about the game and to push their child to achieve more (instead of making excuses).

5) Give it everything

As a coach it is your responsibility to put your team’s best effort forward. In order to do this you have a toe a difficult line between putting your best athletes out there and fair playing time. When it comes down to crunch time put the best effort forward no matter what. Regardless of what the parents believe success can be a powerful motivator for all of your athletes.

6) The Starting Lineup is Earned

Providing motivation can sometimes be difficult for many coaches/volunteers. One of the best ways to motivate athletes is playing time. Regular season play should be reserved for skill development and growth, but playoffs and tournament play is about testing abilities at the highest level. In order to achieve a fair model for your athletes challenge each and everyone of them to earn the opportunity to play in the championship or playoffs. If your child isn’t playing don’t criticize the coach. Instead ask your child what they think they can do to make sure they start next time. Stay positive and don’t blame the child or the coach.

7) Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

Teams with selfish attitudes never win the big game. Ask Carmelo Anthony. Work together in practice, games, and most importantly off the field. Achieving friendships away from the game creates trust and cohesion when it matters most.

8) Do Your Homework

-While all of the other teams are back at the hotel swimming encourage your team (not mandatory) to take in a potential opponents game. This is the most underused coaching tool available. There is so much that can be used to teach a child from the stands that they can apply next time they hit the field/ice.

9) Team Building

Teamwork starts with trust. Try to find ways to take your athletes out of their comfort zone to overcome fear of their teammates opinion. Team Karaoke, Team Talent Contest, or Team Event (i.e., baseball game, movie night) are great examples of building memorable moments that keep things light to help when things go bad.

10) Set Goals

As simple as win 1 game or as complicate as achieving a certain stat value. Athletes can use these goals during games, practices, and even during off season training. As a coach you must know what your team is truly capable and not ask them to over achieve but merely push the limits all the time.

At the end of the day it is only a game. Let the kids enjoy it for what it is.

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