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Coaching Guidelines

KEEN veteran coaches have put together the following suggestions for having the best possible time with an athlete:

1.  Read your athlete’s profile.

  • Look for helpful hints, like calming techniques, motivating techniques, or behavior management techniques.
  • Read about what the athlete’s parents hope the athlete will gain from KEEN.

2.  Talk to the athlete’s parent when he/she is being dropped off.

  • Ask whether there is anything new you should know (e.g., is athlete particularly tired, did athlete learn new skills at school, etc.).
  • Clarify any questions you have about the profile.

3. Communicate clearly.

  • Tell your athlete at the outset of the session exactly what activities you will be doing.
  • When giving any instructions, keep your directions short and simple. Avoid complex directions. Break down tasks/activities into distinct pieces, if needed.
  • Make eye contact with your athlete when giving directions.

4. Be firm.

  • Don’t be afraid to speak firmly to an athlete if he/she is not trying to participate in something that he/she typically likes to do or is able to do. Some athletes pretend to sleep when they don’t want to participate!
  • If, after your attempts to be firm, the athlete still refuses to cooperate, please inform the KEEN Coordinator. He/she can be the “bad cop.”

5. Recognize and celebrate progress.

  • The way we “measure” progress in a KEEN session is very different than how progress might be measured in other settings. For example, it might be a great achievement for an athlete just to make it all the way through the session. Or it may be an amazing accomplishment to follow a simple set of directions.
  • Each step is significant. Putting all those steps together can add up to a major accomplishment.
  • Record progress on profile at the end of the session.
  • Celebrate with “high-fives” and by sharing important moments during “Prouds.”

6. Share ideas with future coaches.

  • Record helpful hints on the athlete’s profile, particularly if something worked well.
  • Make note of activities your athlete particularly enjoyed or disliked.

7. Ask for help if needed.

  • The KEEN Program Coordinator is typically roving to check on coaches and athletes. Feel free to stop them and ask for help.

8. Have fun!