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Tips for Coaching Young Kids

Coaching young kids can be a challenge regardless of the number of years experience you have had. All kids are different and all kids learn differently and at different stages. This is your chance to revert back to being a kid and coaching in their world. Here are a number of tips to help you adapt your training sessions.

1. Remember they are here to have fun
Don’t use drills designed for adults - they are too repetitive and boring for kids.

2. Work on a 5-10 minute on/off program
Concentration spans are short at this age, so break the games up every 5-10 minutes and do something really different (such as simply kick the ball and get them to chase it or a game of tag) then bring them back to the game and start again with a short recap on technique.

3. Keep your explanations short and clear
Again they are not here to listen to your worldly experience, they are here to have fun!! Get the points to them quick and use clear language.

4. Draw the key technical points out of them through questions
Ask the kids questions that make them think about why they are doing what they are doing? What are the important points to make the activity work? (only work on 3 points)
        e.g. Q. Can I stand in front of the ball carrier? A. No - Q. Where can I stand? A. Behind him/her
        Q. Can I tackle from far away? A. No - Q. Then what do I have to do to make a good tackle? A. Get close to the ball carrier.

5. Re-enforce the 3 technical points constantly
For each game choose 3 technical (teaching) points and ask questions that re-enforce them.
    e.g. Tackling has 3 key points - get close, tackle low, and grip and squeeze around both legs.

6. Work in progression
All games or skill development should build or follow on from previous the previous games or drill. Always start as simple as possible and then build on from to the next level.

7. Use Language they will understand
Here is your chance to be a kid again. Use creative names and analogies (Don't use the latest technical jargon you might have learnt in you advanced coaching course or on-line Super 14 website).
    e.g. Cleaners should be called assassins whose job is to take out any opponent trying to steal their ball (or gold for really young kids).

Coaching in Noisy or difficult locations

Often when coaching outside we encounter a lot of noise interference, which can reduce the productivity of the session and make it hard to give the players instructions. There are simple ways to overcome these problems. Luke shows us how by using the following techniques to get the children's attention;

- Physical contact. Tapping the kids on the shoulder
- Visual symbols. Gestures with the hands to explain what he wants them to do.
- Positive reinforcement. He lets them know that he is happy with what they are now doing.

How to Introduce Contact to kids