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

Coaching the Mental Game & Self Esteem — online learning from Deakin University via FutureLearn.com

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

As with the previous courses, I have spent much longer than the suggested 6 hours, working through the course materials, then reading and contributing to the “below the line” conversations.

Big thanks to Paddy and Deakin University; big thanks to the other participants who joined the online discussions.

I have been left with so many things to think about, so much I can add to the coaching toolkit.

Top of the list, for me, was the discussion around self esteem – why it matters, how it differs from self confidence, how to help athletes to develop it.

Continue reading Coaching the Mental Game & Self Esteem — online learning from Deakin University via FutureLearn.com