Coaching 5-year olds — top tips?

Interesting challenge posed by ConnectedCoaches, the online community hosted by UK Coaching.

But only three?

Top tips for working with 5-year olds

Don’t be afraid to repeat an activity, week-on-week, if it’s working.

You might have run the same drill or game hundreds of times, but for these 5-year olds it’s all new.

In fact, I would suggest that you plan to repeat activities at least three times — once to learn what to do, again to practice, and once more to develop “mastery” (yes — even at 5-years of age).

DO NOT ALLOW an activity to end on “I can’t do this” — always “I can’t do this…yet” and “have another go” and “we’ll try again next week”. It’s never too early to drip-feed growth mindset (in spite of the nay-sayers who have “proved” growth mindset doesn’t work). 

Don’t be afraid to abandon an activity if it isn’t working.

Don’t flog a drill or a game (or the kids, for that matter) because it should work, or they should be able to do it. Shelve it, re-think, try again next week.

5-year olds are NOT little 7-year olds.

You will have to do things differently with the youngest.

Probably things that aren’t taught on regular level 1 or 2 (even those that claim to be specifically for coaching children), nor even “coaching children” add-ons like UKCoaching’s own “Coaching Children 5-12: The Next Generation”.

If you do no other background research, try to listen to this webinar — Curious Coaches’ Club: Coaching the 5-8s.

Keep it short.

Bonus tip (couldn’t keep it to only three)

5-year olds have short attention spans, and low energy systems. An hour is a very long time for a 5-year old to be active, so think 45 minutes, with (short) breaks every 10-15 minutes.

Published by Andrew Beaven

Cricket coach, fascinated by the possibilities offered by the game. More formally - ECB level 2 cricket coach; ECB National Programmes (All Stars & Dynamos Cricket) Activator Tutor; Chance to Shine & Team Up (cricket) deliverer; ECB ACO umpire.

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