Asking This Will Make You A Better Coach of Young Athletes
My favourite question to ask the kids at the end of a learning session is: “What did you most enjoy today?”
It can reveal some very useful things to use in your session review. It also helps to guide your next session plan. Asking this question can be a little bit confronting; you are opening yourself up to feedback from a very honest audience! Most importantly, it teaches you not to assume anything, as the kids’ answers will often surprise you.
A True Story
An incident that occurred to me a couple of years ago sticks in my mind. I had just delivered what I considered to be a very well-planned, enjoyable coaching session to a group of youngsters. I had created some great new games and the kids seemed to have a great time and were fully engaged.
At the end of the session, I enthusiastically asked the kids: “What did you most enjoy about today’s session?” I expected them to tell me about the games that we played, how exciting the session was, and how much fun they had.
Two of the kids, however, answered that they most enjoyed helping me pack up and stack the cones in their colours at the end of the session. That response really opened my eyes. It showed me that what we value as coaches and participants doesn’t always completely align.
So how did I respond? Firstly, I made sure that during the next session, those kids had the chance to be helpers again. (Never underestimate how much kids love feeling like they are contributing!) I also developed a relay that involved the kids stacking cones in colours.
Over To You
I encourage you to ask the kids at the end of a session: “What did you most enjoy today?”
You will need to brace yourself for whatever comes back your way. You may even need to dust off and iron out your ego a little.
But listen carefully to the kids’ responses. You will learn a lot and it will make you a better coach.
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.