WYC 146 – Youth Sports – Ben Kissam talks having a Four Quarter Mentality

Ben Kissam is a youth sports coach and writer in Denver, CO. Ben’s areas of expertise are in relationship-based coaching and teaching, effective communication, and fusing lessons in sport and entrepreneurship.

Website & podcast: thecoachkshow.com

Facebook: /thecoachkshow/

Twitter: @thecoachkshow

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Coaching role models

  • Ben had 2 examples from his athletic career – 1 very positive and 1 very negative. He learned from both

Cringe moment

  • His attitude towards the kids – he thought they should just always do what he says. The lesson learned was to focus on getting buy-in instead of just mandating what should be done.

Practice format

  • Routines help. Teach them to run their own warm-ups.
  • Lots of reps, but get creative in making it competitive. It’s also very important to start with the basics when explaining a skill and continue to reinforce what good looks like.

Good practice games

  • The gauntlet – Set up a 10 yard tunnel, and kids go 1 on 1 in it
  • Odd man situations – 3 on 2


  • Teaching a growth mindset is key. Every failure is a step on the journey to success and it is a necessary part of learning.
  • Be a relationships-based coach. Focus on having as many 1 on 1 conversations with your kids as possible.


  • It’s important to have a right-hand man. They can also help with communication – group texts, etc.

Four Quarter mentality culture

  • Setting up a practice plan that builds up the intensity throughout and emphasize finishing strong

Best team builder

  • Eating together. Pasta nights.

Connecting with kids

  • A goalie who Ben coached lacked confidence, and after working with him for 3 years he sees a totally different kid who now is confident

Favorite quote

  • ‘Athletes don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care’

The one that got away

  • Ben coached a team of super talented, super knowledgeable kids.
  • They rolled through the regular season, and played a way lower ranked team in the first round of the playoffs, and lost.

Best Stolen Idea

  • Have a sense of urgency in practice. Create a long-term vision but create a sense of immediate urgency of the importance of every drill and everything you do in practice.

Favorite book

Parting Advice

  • Know one thing about each of your kids that has nothing to do with the sport, and check in with them about it.

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