Introduction to coaching.
If you are a sports coach, you are no stranger to planning activities for young people that keeps them actively engaged and enjoying their activity. However there are many people whether employed to do so, say through schools, or who are acting as volunteers, that might need some more guidance on how to run sports activities in a safe and engaging way.
It is paramount that coaches establish an enjoyable environment for all players in their care. This will be beneficial in the short term by encouraging young people to actively participate in your sessions and in the longer term by encouraging participants to continue with sports and games into the future.
Stick to the APES principle below and you can’t go far wrong;
ACTIVITY – all players involved at all times
PURPOSE – ensure there is a clear objective
ENJOYMENT – make the session varied and fun
SAFE – activities and play areas must be appropriate
The role of the coach:
Sports coaching, rather like all forms of teaching, is a rewarding and challenging way to spend your time. As a coach you will have to adopt a range of roles such as:
Leader, organiser, manager, counsellor, motivator, decision maker, role model, etc etc
Good coaching requires you to be able to:
Continually improve all players
Get the best out of all the players
Develop techniques into skills
Develop the players ‘game sense’ i.e. their ability to assess what’s happening around them and make appropriate decisions
A quick checklist of good positive steps to take.
Conclude the session positively and appropriately Check that the participants are appropriately dressed for the activity and the conditions
I have turned out to see my own children play sports of all kinds and I have seen them freezing, even though I sent them out with plenty of gear to wear in their sports bag. Move players around from position to position, give them specific tasks to perform, set up mini sessions of just a few players at a time. As a rugby coach this never failed to miss and the players would ask for this activity as part of the longer session. Encourage players to play within the spirit of the game. Most learning is achieved by doing.
Appreciate the needs of the players before the needs of the sport.
Be a positive role model
Keep winning and losing in perspective – encourage young players to act with dignity in all circumstances.
Respect all referees/officials and the decisions they make – at all times, ensuring that all players do the same.
Provide positive verbal feedback in a constructive and encouraging manner, both during coaching sessions and games
Just for fun!
Don’t send the class for a 5 mile run while you have a fag behind the sports pavilion.
Don’t send the class on a 5 mile run because you’ve got a hang-over and need a coffee.
Don’t laugh at players who clearly have no clue which direction they are even supposed to be playing in!
Don’t laugh at players who run away when the ball comes towards them.
Don’t laugh at players when they get hit in the face with a ball and are pole-axed (even if it looked funny)
Don’t chat up the parents whilst you’re supposed to be coaching the session
Don’t take off a player during a game for missing an open goal!
Don’t take off a player because you don’t like their parents.
Don’t take off a player because they didn’t do their Maths homework.
Don’t pick a player who wears bright red football boots. Send them back to the classroom and give them a hot chocolate.
Take the p-ss out of kids who dive when they’re tackled – like they’ve seen on telly!!
Don’t let Mothers rush on to the pitch every time little Jonny falls over.
Don’t let Fathers go into denial when little Jonny needs the air ambulance.
Send girls off for squealing at everything during any kind of ball game.
Send girls off for standing about chatting during any kind of game.
Send girls off for playing with their hair during any kind of game.
Don’t argue with parents about refereeing decisions – it will lead to a fight.
Don’t be truthful about a child’s abilities in front of their parents – it will lead to a fight.
Don’t laugh at a child’s sporting prowess in front of their parents – see above.