I enjoyed reading the article “Produce a Positive and Supportive Coaching Environment.” Especially the part about coaches being more concerned about winning than the well-being of their young players. However, I believe there are some areas where we can improve how we approach children’s sports.
First, it is essential to create a FUN and psychologically safe training environment that allows a child’s brain to relax & focus on the process of learning rather than focusing on perceived dangers & a constant state of Fight or Flight. Allowing a child to grow as a person, develop their skills, and enjoy the sport.
Unfortunately, many coaches are not aware of this aspect, which will hinder children’s development and ultimately impact their enjoyment of the game.
Therefore, it’s crucial to emphasize the importance of & educate coaches on how to intentionally create environments free from significant threats or intimidation during training sessions & matches.
Second, having four training sessions per week might not always be the best approach. While regular practice is necessary for improvement, too much training can lead to burnout and injuries. It’s important to strike a balance and consider the individual needs and abilities of each child.
For many coaches, if they were able to intentionally create environments free from threat & intimidation as well as know how our brain processes information for learning, they would be able to design blocks of sessions.
As a coach, you would see a child grow & develop as a player through optimal learning environments. In fact, you could cut sessions in half and likely see more development.
Third, participating in other activities, such as karate, can benefit a child’s soccer development. Martial arts promote discipline and focus, qualities that can translate into improved performance on the field.
Encouraging children to engage in different activities can also help prevent burnout and provide a well-rounded experience.
Overall, I believe we need to prioritize supporting coaches to be able to intentionally create environments free from threat & intimidation, offering a safe and enjoyable environment for children’s sports, consider individual needs and abilities, as well as how we learn when planning training sessions and encourage participation in other activities to support overall development.
COACHES DON’T MAKE CHILDREN/PLAYERS BETTER! There I’ve said it, it’s out there & I truly believe it. That is strange coming from someone running a coaching franchise. However, hear me out!
The only person making anyone better is the person themselves. In my case, that is every child. They are the only ones making themselves better.
As a coach, it is my responsibility to ensure each & every child has an optimal environment to learn & grow, removing as many threats as possible. Having FUN, laughing & smiling are colossal indicators that we have that environment.
It’s my responsibility to support, nudge, challenge & encourage children to believe in themselves & educate them on how they grow using experiences. It’s my responsibility to focus on the child as a player is just a role the child will play in their life.
Scott Benbow, Head Coach | Football Fun Factory
KOACH KARL’S NOTES
Coaches are essential in creating an environment for children to learn, grow, and become better players.
Your responsibility is supporting, challenging, and encouraging children/players to believe in themselves. You can give individual feedback, help players set goals, or create a safe and supportive team culture.
When children have FUN and enjoy themselves, it’s a sign that we’ve created a positive environment.