One of the greatest joys of being a coach is the opportunity to make a positive impact on the lives of young athletes. Youth sports are more popular than ever, for better or worse, and an increasing number of dedicated youth athletes are looking for an edge against their peers.

Working with young athletes is fun and rewarding, but it can be difficult. Ages vary, group sizes fluctuate and attention spans have been known to vanish for little youngsters. Whether you’re working with 12-year-olds mastering the basics or 18-year-olds on sport-specific training, every coach runs into challenges that are much different from the challenges they encounter with adults.

Getting a young athlete, or a group of them, to buy in­ to my program is a major goal for me. It wasn’t always easy, but I’ve been able to have a pretty solid amount of success. Three main components have helped me make the youth training process smooth and successful. Try some of these tactics with kids you’re having a tough time with and I guarantee you’ll notice a difference.