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No place for the selfish coach

The following are a couple of exerts from an article written by Frances Watson on
October 29, 2008 and posted in the Sydney Morning herald.

"ARE you the coach or manager of your child's sport team? Does your child spend the most time on the field and generally get more chance to shine than others in the team? Then hang your head in shame.

Every extra minute your child gets in play is a minute stolen from another child - a child who joined the team hoping to play sport, not watch your child play sport."

Unfortunately, this often is the unintended case of parents coaching their kid's team. The parent has good intentions of wanting to help their child and team or they are thrust into the position because no one else wants it.

So what is the solution? Simply stagger the age training systems and develop a club policy that can govern the coaching styles. If the club has a clear coaching policy any issues that may arise will be easier to deal with.

To begin with it needs to be understood that children participate in sport for the fun of it. Adults often forget this and use our grown up instincts to set goals based on winning championships, that will come with time if the base is correctly set.

Here are some tips;

Under 10 years.
Skill development and the love of the game. Develop the sports basic or core skills during these years, make it fun and they will want to come back when they get to the decisive years.

- Rotation policy - each player should have equal time to participate in all skills or aspects of the game. Regardless of if they are week or poor skilled, the only way they are going to become a skilled player is game time. Never forget children develop at different ages, so the uncoordinated 7 year old may be the star of the team in the under 12's or older, only if you have worked on their core skill level early on.
- Promote teamwork - this is a key aspect for the future of a child's sporting career. If a child can understand the value of working together as a unit over individual talent your team will prosper in the later years when star players no longer win games alone.
- Skill development - focus on the necessary skills needed for the sport. Use games to introduce the skills needed and allow the competitive nature of the children to push them to want to do better. Encourage the players positively if they make mistakes or loose during the games.

10 to 12 years
This is the age they can begin to understand selection and basic strategy. Increase the skill complexity, with out forgetting the fun aspect.

- Kids at this age are capable of dealing with selection and team grading better than the younger ages. Make it clear to all players that the grading system is not final and allows them to go up grades if they perform well. Attempt to play as much internal games with in the clubs to promote equal development and help gage all players capabilities.
- Introduce the basic game strategies, again through games if possible. Things such as holding onto the ball as long as possible in certain parts of the field or defending a certain way all are easy to introduce if you explain why. Always introduce 1 strategy and then back it up with as many game like training sessions as possible before moving to the next strategy.
- Skills development is still crucial. There should be more of an emphasis on skills under pressure, inclusion of more variables and a reduction of time to do a skill. This will increase the pressure aspect and push for performance under pressure.

12 years and above
From here on in competitive levels, intensity and skill demand should be increased. Players are ready for the demand of an academy styled training in which training is based on learning and not only fun. By now players would have made their choice as to the level they want to reach and should be willing to put in the necesary effort to reach these level.

- Increase cardio fitness combined with skill. Players can be pushed further towards exhaustion and still control the skill level. This is a crucial development for players to expand their capabilities and to step out of their comfort zones.
- Technical development should be introduced to suit the players game position. Players should be getting more specific training related to their positions and what is expected of them during the game.
- Physical intensity should increase. Players are ready to grow physically and they should be challenged to stimulate growth. Develop a part of the training session dedicated to the physical nature of the game, concentrate on developing all areas of the body in as free (open) environment as possible. Create scenarios that relate to game aspects in which the player has to use strength or physical presence to complete the task correctly and always explain the relevance.

Coaching your kids to the top.

here are some tips for helping your kid get the most out of his/her sport.

- Make it fun
- train them individually away from their friends
- positively re-enforce the correct technique. make sure you make a big thing of them when they do it right.
- Tell them how much you enjoy the time together and how proud you are of their development.
- Let them choose what level or team they want to play.
- Listen to what they are saying and ask them why they think they aren't so good at certain skills.
- Let them win most of the time until they are at the age to truly compete against you.

Here are a couple of interesting articles;

Can Kids and Teens with Asthma Play Sport?

Fitness For Kids: Getting your children off the couch