’16s Session 4 – Coaching Today’s Millennial Generation Athlete

The seniors kicked the year off with a great discussion that continued their understanding and comprehension of mentoring.  Coach Wetmore asked the students to read the following article prior to the meeting:  Seven Keys to Coaching the today’s Millennial Generation Athlete.

Coach Wetmore started the discussion with several stories that reinforced the value of mentorship.  To drive this point home, he asked the group to share their New Year’s resolutions.  By sharing he wanted to make the seniors accountable to one another for their resolutions.  Once each knows the others resolution they can help each other reach their goals through positive reinforcing and supportive assistance. By knowing others are invested, this holds each of them accountable. This is an example of the power of mentoring.

Coach turned the conversation into an in-depth discussion of the article and the major points and advice that it offers.  The author offers 7 primary ways that the millennial generation differs from other generations.  He then offers 8 key pieces of advice on how to approach and coach the millennial.

The students then each commented on the 7 “traits” of the millennial.

  • One thought it was unfair to generalize so broadly.  7 traits cannot apply to every millennial. They then comment that if one looks at the NA students one realizes that in fact these traits are pretty good at identifying them.
  • One student really liked the “sheltered” trait and believed it resonates well to describe the millennials. Her example was the protective football parents and the students who do not receive anything less than an A.
  • One student thought that looking at social media as a team-building device was really interesting and a unique perspective that resonated well.
  • One student felt that the article did not give the millennial generation enough credit. Most of the traits seemed to take a negative slant and that is not truly the case.

Coach asked the seniors their impressions of the advice offered by the author:

  • One student observed that many of her coaches did use the advice, but the best coach she had did not fit the advice at all!
  • One student was not sure about the comment that a coach needs to “grab the attention and entertain the millennial”. Looking back at his great coaches it seemed they gained the team’s respect because of their bearing, knowledge and rapport. This was enough to get the team’s attention.
  • One student thought it was interesting that as the article recommended, most teams at NA really work hard on team building and bonding through breakfasts, team-bonding events, social media, and out-of-school activities.
  • One student took the “short-attention span” trait of the millennials to task. They felt that coaches should not cater to this trait but rather force the athletes to learn to adapt and overcome a short attention span.
  • One student really agreed with the comment that this generation desires “instant feedback”. This comes from constant social media use such as twitter and instagram. The student commented that the he resonated better with his coaches that were able to give instant feedback.  The most successful coaches could provide instant feedback for short-term successes while also detailing progress made toward longer term goals.

It was a fantastic way to kick the New Year off.  The students enjoyed a thought-provoking article and  lively discussion.  By analyzing the millennials as a generation, they learned how they view themselves and how others view them, and armed with this information they are now better suited to mentor and be mentored!


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