Connect Before you Correct Young People

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With every dropped pass, every lost yard, and every missed tackle, the coach grew more frustrated. The breaking point came when the opposing team returned a punt to the endzone, making the score 32-0. As his group of dejected players ran off the field, the coach gathered the team before they could reach the sideline.

What shocked me was not the tone the coach used to call out his team’s effort. The shocking part came from witnessing each player’s response to their coach’s motivational tactic. One player threw his helmet while the other one walked to the locker room. As if the things could not get any worse, the coach began arguing with one of his players on the field.

During my time working with young people as a coach, mentor, educator, and speaker, I came to understand a valuable lesson: one must connect before they correct.

While the coach erupted and his team imploded, he seemingly forgot about the golden rule of working with young people

I failed many times at trying to get the best out of young people because I was asking them to do something I wasn’t willing to do myself.

If you are someone who works with young people in any capacity, it is a rewarding experience, but one that can be quite daunting, especially if there has been no solid foundation of trust and reciprocity established.

Before you call a play, give an instruction, hand out an assignment, make a request, or demand anything from a young person, make it a priority to connect with them first.

Failure to do so could lead to a result in an experience like the coach who not only lost the game but also lost his team. Remember that every person needs their heart to be reached before their mind can be taught because the old saying is true, “They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

the coach grew more frustrated. The breaking point came when the opposing team returned a punt to the endzone, making the score 32-0. As his group of dejected players ran off the field, the coach gathered the team before they could reach the sideline.

What shocked me was not the tone the coach used to call out his team’s effort. The shocking part came from witnessing each player’s response to their coach’s motivational tactic. One player threw his helmet while the other one walked to the locker room. As if the things could not get any worse, the coach began arguing with one of his players on the field.

During my time working with young people as a coach, mentor, educator, and speaker, I came to understand a valuable lesson: one must connect before they correct.

While the coach erupted and his team imploded, he seemingly forgot about the golden rule of working with young people

I failed many times at trying to get the best out of young people because I was asking them to do something I wasn’t willing to do myself.

If you are someone who works with young people in any capacity, it is a rewarding experience, but one that can be quite daunting, especially if there has been no solid foundation of trust and reciprocity established.

Before you call a play, give an instruction, hand out an assignment, make a request, or demand anything from a young person, make it a priority to connect with them first.

Failure to do so could lead to a result in an experience like the coach who not only lost the game but also lost his team. Remember that every person needs their heart to be reached before their mind can be taught because the old saying is true, “They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

 

 

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