Geraint Davies is an Academy Lead Rugby Coach, here are his views on Children’s sport. 5 Brilliant and very simple ideas to implement!
I’ve spent the last 2 years watching my own children play Football, Rugby, Cricket & Tennis. Standing back watching them as a father is a very different experience to coaching, teaching or coach development. Here’s a summary of my thoughts…
1.Children should play games that are appropriate for both their physical, social & mental stage of development. – 6v6 football at U8 is too big. Make it 2v2 or 3v3. 9v9 rugby at U9 is too big. Make it 3v3 or 4v4. – Young children don’t want to pass & it’s too much to expect them to manage the ball at their feet/hands & to think about their teammates. Let them dribble/run & become evasive attackers. When they pass they’ll get the ball back quickly as it’s low numbers. win-win.
2. Coaches who speak to children with respect & empathy are worth their weight in gold. Children are not stupid, they are children. They need care & patience. They need to be very clear on the expectations of their behaviour & consistency when they don’t meet expectations.
3. Children do like competition & they do like knowing the score. Children don’t like one-sided competition & feeling that they’re not good enough. Change teams up, play ladder competitions (like in Tennis), keep games short & with high activity levels (small sided!).
4. Children like playing. Sitting on the bench is rubbish. EVERY child should get equal game time. The Coach is responsible for creating the environment. Set up the mini pitches, organise the bibs, pump up the balls, help organise the teams….then let them play!
5. Not every game needs a referee/coach. Kids will manage a 3v3 game just fine. Play for 5 minutes, they’ll be ready for a rest! Blow the whistle, change the teams, go again. Support & praise players with feedback & guidance then move onto a different field.
Guest Post by: Geraint Davies: Academy Lead Rugby Coach & Analyst, Ex Teacher and Senior Coach Developer & Coach Mentor Follow him @daviesGDD on Twitter
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