Transforming Training Sessions with Games, Props, and Autonomy
Were you a kid who played in the backyard? Running around, chasing, laughing, throwing a ball, and just having fun? Backyard play has been a staple of childhood for generations.
As a coach, you have a unique opportunity to bring the spirit of backyard play to your athletes. Whatever sport you coach, there are plenty of ways to incorporate the joy of play into your training sessions.
Backyard play is more than just fun and games. It’s also an essential part of developing a love and ability for sports. When kids play in the backyard, they’re not just having fun, they’re also developing important physical and mental skills.
So how can you bring the backyard to coaching? Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Play Games
One of the simplest ways to bring the spirit of backyard play to coaching is to incorporate games into your training sessions. Games like tag are not only fun, but they also develop important skills like agility, coordination, and spatial awareness. Try incorporating games into each coaching session to keep things exciting and engaging.
2. Use Props
Another way to bring the backyard to coaching is to use props. In the backyard, kids will use whatever they can find to make the game more interesting. You can do the same thing by bringing in props like cones, balls, and hoops. Use them to create new challenges and games, and encourage your players to get creative with how they use them.
3. Let Them Lead
In the backyard, kids are in charge of their own games. They make the rules, set the boundaries, and decide when the game is over. You can bring this same sense of autonomy to your coaching by giving your players more control over their training. Let them take turns leading activities, choosing games, and setting goals. This will not only give them a sense of ownership over their training but also help to develop leadership skills and creativity.
4. Make It Fun
Don’t forget that the most important part of backyard play is fun. If your training sessions are too serious and structured, the kids will quickly lose interest. Instead, try to make each session fun and engaging.
Bringing the backyard to coaching is all about unleashing the power of play. By incorporating games, using props, letting your players lead, and making it fun, you can create a training environment that is both enjoyable and effective.
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, or via email. Check out Coaching Young Athletes on YouTube, the Coaching Young Athletes podcast, and the Coaching Young Athletes E-Book Series.