I do quite a bit* of coaching with younger children, 7 and younger, right down to weekly groups with 3-4 year olds. Sessions can be messy, they can be loud, sometimes they must look pretty chaotic.
In truth, I really do quite enjoy the chaos (sometimes). I’ll let activities run on, if the players are engaging in some sort of “constructive” play.
Probably the most frequent feedback I receive, from parents and fellow coaches, regards “patience” — how I must have incredible depths of patience to work with the young groups, how much the children enjoy the freedom they get to play and learn.
And I also get the counter-statement — “it’s OK to be firmer with the kids, if they misbehave” (i.e. “you really are too patient, sometimes”).
I am coming to the conclusion that patience by itself might not be the virtue that it is held up as.
I recently updated my CV (no, I am not applying for new jobs, just a periodic review and trim) and it is now overflowing with CPD courses — mostly interesting, and all relevant in some way to the work I am doing, but I suspect that only a few will actually change how I coach (for the better, hopefully).
Which set me wondering about the “minimum set” of qualifications required to call yourself a coach?
What are the most important lessons from coach education — formal qualification, ongoing CPD, informal learning — lessons that have fundamentally shaped the way I coach?
Really interesting video from the iCoachKids project, on “making the sport fit the child, not the child fit the sport”
Some of the concepts discussed might appear obvious, but I thought it was very helpful to see how the video (and the associated activities on the MOOC) provides a framework to think about why and how to adapt and differentiate activities in children’s sport.