A Magic Route to the Magic Ratio

April 05, 2010, 12 a.m. (ET)

One concept that often raises eyebrows and inquires from coaches and parents is the use of the “Magic Ratio” in helping our kids learn from their youth sports experience.

The Magic Ratio, rooted in sports and educational psychology research, states that coaches can get the most out of youth athletes by providing five specific, truthful praises for every one piece of specific, constructive criticism. “Five to one?!” we hear. “When Sarah makes five errors for every ball she fields cleanly, how am I supposed to get to this ratio?!”

There are ways for Responsible Coaches to achieve the Magic Ratio, legitimately, while helping your players improve. Take a simple fielding drill. Let’s say you’ve got five players in a line, and you hit 10 ground balls to each of them in a five-minute drill.

That’s 10 chances to find something positive to say to each player. Start the drill slowly, hitting balls that are relatively easy to field. That will gently warm up the players and build their confidence as they field balls cleanly.

find out more about the “Magic Ratio” >>

The Liberty Mutual Responsible SportsTM program supports volunteer youth sports coaches and parents who help our children succeed both on and off the field. We offer many youth sports resources including $2,500 community grants, instructional videos, weekly tips, peer and expert advice, and coursework for those interested in improving the youth sports experience for all involved.