Coach education — minimum set?

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?

Continue reading Coach education — minimum set?

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

Coaching the Mental Game & Self Esteem — working with children

Back in the summer, I completed Coaching the Mental Game, the final course in the series led by Paddy Upton, from Deakin University via FutureLearn.

Since then, I have endured an enforced break from coaching, to recover from a keyhole surgery to tidy up some damage to my knee — caused by an inexpert sliding stop in the outfield to save a long chase to retrieve the ball from beyond the boundary…or perhaps it’s just that my knees are getting old…

The time out has given me chance to reflect on the course, and on how it might apply to my own coaching, especially working with children.

Closely related to the discussion around self esteem was a question about how to manage mistakes to build confidence and self esteem.  I wholeheartedly subscribe to the concept of the ‘growth mindset’, but sometimes this can come across as wishful thinking — “you will get better if you put in the effort” reeks of unsubstantiated positive thinking.

I want my players to have a growth mindset, and I want them to respond to challenge with counter-challenge; I expect them to develop appropriate focus behaviours…but if I don’t help them to develop these behaviours, I might only be setting them up to fail.

Continue reading Coaching the Mental Game & Self Esteem — working with children