Remember These Words When Coaching Young Athletes
MAKE IT FUN!
These three words contain possibly the most important piece of advice that can be given to a coach or teacher conducting athletics training for young people.
Unfortunately, traditional athletics skill teaching is often associated with short bursts of activity and long waiting periods – a great way to demotivate young people! Don’t expect children to have the same attitude to training as an adult – they rarely will. It is generally very difficult for children to motivate themselves to perform practice unless there is an immediate or very short-term “reward”.
One reward that coaches can offer is fun, and the answer is games. While traditional drills have the goal of improvement, games have an outcome that is more tangible and appealing to the young athlete. In initiating skill teaching with a game element, you are organising activities that will motivate and improve.
Games can be designed to:
- Inject an element of fun into an otherwise boring or repetitive activity.
- Keep large groups active and entertained.
- Highlight elements of a skill to be learnt.
Next time you are conducting a session for a group of young athletes, at its conclusion, ask them what they enjoyed most. Don’t be surprised if the answer: “The games”.
How do you make your sessions fun?
I would love to hear about your favourite games and fun activities. Let me know by leaving a reply/comment or by using the below contact details.
Darren Wensor is a sports development professional, coach educator, specialist coach of young athletes and founder of the blog coachingyoungathletes.com. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin or via email.