Rules of Engagement

Jan 07, 14 Rules of Engagement

This is an article by Greg Hurvitz, Director of Sport at King David High School Linksfield, South Africa and it was originally published some time ago. Greg also writes a weekly column in the Star Metro ZA.

No matter where we are in the world, we face the same issues when it comes to development in youth sport. His contribution starts here> 

Very often, when speaking to groups of coaches, I speak about the rules of engagement. Now this is certainly not warfare but it is education, which as our own Former President Nelson Mandela has made so very important through his public emphasis on its importance – I would say that it is more important than warfare.

Pride, Passion, People and Participation – It’s what we do!

Sport is far more about life skills than it is about the sport itself. It is far more about learning who you are as an individual or within a team environment. Because of these 2 vital factors, we as coaches have to know how important positive and appropriate engagement is for the kids under our watch. It is not about how you were coached at school, it is not about what you think works for the individual. It is about what the individual needs to be the best he/she can be. For this to be remotely realised as coaches we need skills that extend beyond the mere technical. We must know how to positively engage our players almost perfectly. This takes hours and hours of thought, planning and implementation. This is a massive part of a coaching philosophy.

‘Know the individual, it will absolutely change how you manage that personality and character.’

For the first time ever, since I have had the privilege of writing this column, I want to extend my thoughts into the academic sphere. Schools are changing, the way our kids need to be educated has to adapt with this. The conventional desk and chair model is fast becoming redundant. The very quick tendency (my opinion) to diagnose ADD, ADHD or other ‘behavioural’ obstacels could, I believe, be alleviated and worked through with the correct approach to how we engage that individual in the learning environment. Notice I defined it as a learning environment not a teaching environment. Teachers and coaches, so similar in their tasks, must take every ounce of time possible to learn more about the individual so as to ensure the best activation model for this child – to make that child the best child he/she can be. School excos, driven by a Headmaster or Headmistress must critically assess their school learning environment to do the best possible for the spectrum of children in that school. I am proud to acknowledge my own school as a place moving positively in this critical analysis of our own model and I know many Heads of schools are asking these questions, Good for you!

Know the individual, it will absolutely change how you manage that personality and character. It does take time and it does take major self investment, but at the end of the day as educators in the classroom or on the sports field – we do this because we have chosen this and this is our calling – so go ahead and make your calling the best job in the world and changes thousands of lives in the process.

We would like to thank Greg for his contribution to You can follow Greg on twitter @GregHurvitz


I always like to hear your opinions. Please comment below or email me If, you don’t have anything to add then please forward this on to a friend. Thanks for reading. I’m also on twitter @Coachdiary

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