How Well Do You Know Generation Z Athletes?

For starters, Generation Z refers to individuals born after the Millennial Generation which depending on who you ask or what source you look up includes birthdates ranges from the mid to late 1990s all the way into the early 2000s.

Below we take a look at and link to some research and articles done on Generation Z. How does this information help you relate to today's youth players?

"This is Gen Z" from ologie (

Ologie, a branding agency that works with many colleges and university, created an ebook that summarizes research that they did focused on how to engage, communicate and connect with Generation Z.

Some of the items from their ebook:

  • They defy and resent conventional labels that don’t fully capture who they really are.
  • It is the first truly digital native generation. They communicate constantly and through many channels but they want a disconnected personal experience as well.
  • Their family structure is more diverse than ever.
  • They have a larger, better understanding of the world than any generation before them at their age because of technology.
  • They are very future focused and want tangible challenges.
  • Online privacy and safety is important.
  • Entertainment choices focus on ordinary individuals making a difference.
  • They are realistic but optimistic and idealistic.

Get the full document here

The Preferred Coaching Styles of Generation Z Athletes: A Qualitative Study

From the Journal of Coaching Education, a publication from the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE), an association in the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD)

For this study, 10 youth athletes (five male, five female) were interviewed and four main themes emerged for Generation Z’s view of a “great coach.”

These themes reflected the desire for a coach that:

  1. Does not yell and remains calm
  2. Is caring and encouraging
  3. Has knowledge of the sport
  4. Involves the team in decision making.

In congruence with past research, it is evident that over the years youth have showed a desire for a democratic style of coaching which is comprised of positive interactions and feedback. Coaches may be able to use this research to adapt their leadership qualities to the preferences of their athletes. By making such adjustments, it may lead to a more enjoyable and enhancing environment for youth.

Get the summary and full article here

How to Coach Generation Z from Sportlyzer

This Sportlyzer blog post summarizes and interprets some of the research out there and includes the piece above. Some additional items that they point out related to Generation Z:

  • Generation Z craves for constant and quick feedback. Always being connected is not a choice but new normality.
  • Growing up in unstable times in world politics and economy, they are slightly distrusting and are looking for stability more than their predecessors. They grow up faster and one can say less naive about how stuff works.
  • A good coach is aware of the aforementioned peculiarities of Generation Z. Technology is the obvious talking point here, but good communication is the key for understanding and coaching Generation Z.

Read their full blog post

5 Things You Need To Know About Working With Generation Z

This is actually a post from Business Insider. Although it is more focused on Generation Z individuals as it relates to them entering the work force, it still has some good insights that can prove useful for coaches.

It's 5 key points:

  1. They crave honesty
  2. They're more entrepreneurial
  3. They're not interested in a typical work week
  4. They want to talk face-to-face
  5. They know what they want

Read the full article

Soccer Technology and Coaching

This is a post that we did a few weeks back that emphasizes the need for coaches to effectively use technology to relate to youth athletes. Being able to relate to athletes better by providing them with training session expectations and communications to their mobile devices, tablets and computers creates not only an environment that can bridge a social gap but it can increase overall productivity by better utilizing coaching time. Coaches can cut down on their time preparing for practice by creating and showing training sessions, formations, set-pieces, positional expectations and more using digital coaching software.

Read the full article

Hopefully there is something here that helps you become a better coach.

Let us know if you have any additional thoughts or opinions on this information.