If I am being honest, I don’t even like children, that much, beyond the fact that they enjoy playing games (almost) as much as I do. Oh, and they really like learning new skills. Always very happy to give them back, afterwards.
It was never my intention, when I completed my level 2 in 2011 (back then, the “Level 2 Certificate in Coaching Cricket”), that I would specialise in coaching u7s.
But that is what has happened. And it has made me a better all-round coach.
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.
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.