Good Supervision is Important When We Have Young Athletes in Our Care
Coaches of young athletes need to build effective group supervision strategies into their coaching repertoire. These strategies are an important part of maintaining a safe coaching environment. Good supervision can be a major factor in the prevention of accidents, bullying and disruptive or poor behaviour. A vigilant coach with strong supervision skills will more likely be able to quickly recognise and prevent hazardous situations or behaviour, while athletes are less likely to drift off-task when they know the coach is “on the ball”.
Five strategies to add to your supervision repertoire are:
1. Stick to the Perimeter of Your Group
Try to keep all members of your group within your field of vision. This prevents activities from going on behind your back. The best place to be is always on the perimeter of an activity so that you are looking inwards and no one is behind you and therefore outside of your field of vision.
2. Scan the Whole Group
Scan your group. Don’t get caught up only watching what is going on directly in front of you or where all of the action is taking place. You need to also keep an eye on what is happening “behind the play” e.g. The kids lining up waiting for their turn. Widen your focus and see more.
3. Have “Eyes in the Back of your Head”
Show that you are “with-it” at all times; or have “eyes in the back of your head”. Show the students that you are monitoring them even when they don’t think that you are. One of the most effective ways of doing this is catching kids doing the right (or wrong) thing on the far side of the group or activity to where you are standing.
4. Keep Participants “On Their Toes”
Keep the participants on task and “on their toes” by hustling and prompting them. Hustling is a way of keeping things moving and encouraging effort, such as an enthusiastic “Keep moving, keep going!” or energetic hand clapping. A prompt is an action from the coach that keeps the group on task by positively reinforcing what they should be doing. e.g. “Knees up, knees up!”.
5. Move About Purposefully
Move around purposefully but unpredictably so the group won’t ever know where you will turn up. Don’t stand in the one spot. Be mobile, visible and involved. Don’t, however, just walk circles around your group. A pause or a sudden change of direction or pace keeps the group alert to the fact that you may appear anywhere at any time.
- Stick to the perimeter of the group so no one is behind you.
- Scan the whole group, not just what is going on in front of you
- Have “eyes in the back of your head”
- Keep participants “on their toes” through hustles and prompts
- Move about purposely but unpredictably
Try one of these strategies next time you are supervising a group
I would love to hear if you use one of the above strategies and how it works for you. Let me know by leaving a comment/reply.
If this post helped you please take a moment to help others by sharing it on social media. If you want to learn more I encourage you to leave questions and comments or contact me directly.
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, Anchor or via email.