What is fun, anyway?

I think there is growing agreement that sports coaching for children needs to be “fun” if coaches are to engage and retain players in their programmes.

Fun has been identified as a key component driving engagement in kids sport in numerous studies (see Bailey et al., cited in the iCK MOOC Developing Effective Environments for Children in Sport).

The word “fun” appears in 46 posts on this blog — that is nearly 25% of posts published since I started The Teesra in 2009.

But what actually is “fun”?

And is it always a good thing?

Continue reading What is fun, anyway?

Coaching children — giving them what they want, and some of what they need — with iCoachKids

I have started on the iCoachKids online course Developing Effective Environments for Children in Sport.

This is the first of three “MOOCs” from the iCoachKids project, an international, collaborative, multi-agency project aiming to support the development of a Specialist Children and Youth Coaching Workforce across the EU, funded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union.

Thought-provoking content (lots of it!), enthusiastically presented, and addressing an area of coaching that is too often dismissed as “just coaching kids”!

The role of the coach in children’s sport is widely misunderstood— are they performance coach, guru, task-master, child-minder?  — when perhaps the most important thing that a coach in children’s sport can do is to help the child to develop a love of sport (any sport) that will carry on into adult life.

Continue reading Coaching children — giving them what they want, and some of what they need — with iCoachKids

How small is small enough? A (partial) answer

“Striking/fielding games such as cricket, baseball, and rounders share:

the concept of scoring by striking a ball into open spaces;
fielders being placed strategically to prevent runs from being scored”

quoted in Kirk, D. and MacPhail, A. (2002) ‘Teaching Games for Understanding and Situated Learning: Rethinking the Bunker-Thorpe Model’, Journal of Teaching in Physical Education 21(2), pp. 177-192.

So this might be the starting point for a minimal cricket(-like) game:

  • perhaps 3-4 fielders (“must have one foot on your mat”), with the batter trying to hit the ball between & beyond them;
  • coach feed, to start with;
  • fielders can stop & catch, then throw the ball to the coach;
  • batter can score runs (I have scored this in (high)fives – run to the coach and get a high five; run back to the batting crease; repeat) until the ball is returned by the fielders.
Continue reading How small is small enough? A (partial) answer