Coaching Children

For too long the practice in sport has been to identify and cultivate the talented players and elite teams at younger and younger ages. There is the tendency to nurture the perceived best and neglect the rest. This has contributed to adult training regimes and playing conditions being imposed onto young players. Training and competition is geared to outcome and winning, and not for the process of development.

For coaches of kids, there must be a balance between the need to win games and trophies versus the need to develop players and recognise the importance of fair play - provide full participation within an environment where players are encouraged to achieve their full potential. If you consider the reasons that children participate in sport, and the reasons that we as adults want them to participate in sport, you can see that there is a lot of common ground for coaches to work in:

Why do children take part in sport?

There are many reasons that children take part in sport, but research has shown that children primarily participate to:

  • Learn new skills
  • Make friends
  • See new places – and have new experiences
  • To be part of a team
  • For the competitive challenge/winning
  • Improve their self worth
  • To have fun

When children do not experience these feelings, they drop out from sport. Some will drop out in favour of other activities where they feel that these needs are being met, while others will simply drop out of sporting activities altogether. It is the role of the coach to create the environment for children to experience these.

Why should children take part in sport?

It may be obvious that children play to enjoy themselves and have fun, but there are many more reasons why you as a parent or coach should encourage children to participate:

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