20 things I’ve learnt about working with children…

Below is a list of 20 things I’ve learnt from coaching kids and how they learn. I could probably put down 100 more things but I feel these 20 are some of the most important things to remember when working with children.

“Children need the freedom to play and learn on their own. Play is not a luxury. Play is a necessity.” – TCD

Working with children in sport and how they learn:

  1. Children are not mini adults.
  2. Children play sport because its fun. Social interaction and being with friends is an important reason why children take part.
  3. Play and Fun is the same thing to young children.
  4. Children don’t value winning as much as they value playing.
  5. Children can learn MORE through play that is unsupervised and where they have created the rules.
  6. Mistakes are how they learn.
  7. Children develop at different stages.
  8. Children brains loves to bookmark failure, therefore they don’t need us to remind them of failure.
  9. No child goes out to intentionally make mistakes.
  10. Constant instruction actually thwarts player’s decision-making.
  11. You don’t need knowledge of the game to be a great coach.
  12. Coaches should try to understand more about how children learn and how they should coach.
  13. Up to age 7 we should be more concerned with the FUNdamental movement skills as they set the pattern for future development.
  14. Some research suggests from ages 7 to puberty, children should be able to acquire more specialised skill, in more structured activities.
  15. Children don’t learn from people they don’t like.
  16. Children should be encouraged to play and practice on their own or with friends to help them to improve through repetition.
  17. Observational learning is very powerful so structuring a session so that children can see others and compare themselves in an informal way can be very useful.
  18. Having a ‘go’ without others watching is equally important.
  19. A child that enjoys a sport is more likely to continue in that sport.
  20. Children may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.

The most important thing to remember is that children develop at different stages and we can’t force the process.

What would you add to the list?


Next up is 20 ways parents can help their children have a better sports experience.

I always like to hear your opinions and views. If you feel you have something to say, please comment below or email me and if you don’t have anything to add, please pass this on to a friend.

As always, thanks for reading. I’m also on twitter  @Coachdiary