Getting 101% from Your Youth Athletes


Every coach in every sport has muttered (or more likely yelled) the phrase, “I want to see 110% out there!” That extra 10% is supposed to be the added oomph your athletes need to stay focused, make a great play and win the game. But is 10% too much to ask from your youth athletes? If your players already feel like they’ve giving it their all, 10% more might seem like an unattainable goal. After all, if you just ran a marathon do you feel like running an extra 10%? Why not take some of that pressure off your youth athletes and ask for 101%.

Why 101%?

1% is doable: Asking your athletes to give 1% extra sounds like a completely reasonable request. “Yeah, I can run 1% faster around the bases,” they might think to themselves. “How hard is an extra 1%?” It’s a goal they can achieve and take pride in. Too often athletes set themselves up for failure with expectations they can never hope to reach. It’s not reasonable to assume that you’ll catch every pass or get 10 shots on goal every game. But it isn’t that farfetched to assume they can make a 1% improvement.

1% is never just 1%: If you ask your youth athletes to give 1% extra during the next practice or game, you’re probably going to get more than you asked for. Once your athletes get confident playing at that level of focus and dedication consistently, it’s much easier to push them to the next level. Smaller improvements are easier to maintain and 101% becomes the new norm, making it the new 100%.

1% appeals to everyone: Not everyone on your youth sports team is going to be a superstar. After all, youth sports are where superstars learn the basics of their game. Less talented players may not feel like they have the ability to give you that extra 10% because they are barely treading water as is compare to some of the other kids. However, asking them to give 1% might help make them more confident in their own abilities.