23 year old Lauren has been coaching the U10s team at St Alban's RFC for 4 years, and has learnt a lot about how the behaviours of those around her can allow her to thrive in her role. In her own words, she shares six simples tips for adults who work alongside young coaches.
Tip #1 – Never underestimate us!
You have taken your child to a session with a person young enough to be your child, niece, nephew or younger sibling. I bet you're think “what do they know?”. For a young person to be brave enough to take on a coaching role is already showing you this coach has a lot of qualities that you want your child to have – confidence, resilience, passion and the list goes on! Let them coach and watch your child smile as they play.
Tip #2 – Let us learn from our mistakes!
We are learning just like your child, we will make mistakes in our coaching and will probably notice before anyone else does. It’s also important to remember that although you may not agree because “that wasn’t how you were coached”, remember your child is growing up in a completely new world to you. Take the time to do some research into coaching to understand how it has evolved, or even ask the coach why they do things that way - they will be more than happy to tell you.
Tip #3 – You could learn from us!
Young coaches have new knowledge which you may not be aware of and vice versa. Be open minded and ask questions if you don’t understand or want to know more – that will be much more valuable.
Tip #4 – Give us space!
We have kids to control in the session and it becomes very hard when we have parents getting involved while we coach. We understand that you want the best for your child but when you don't give the coach and your child some space you can take away the authority of the coach and they will look for advice from you rather than the coach. Ask yourself: 'Who probably knows more about the team dynamics and what the child should be developing at a certain stage?'
Hopefully you agree it's the coach. If you won’t get yourself in some sports kit and get involved coaching the team yourself then take a step back and leave the coaching to the coaches.
Tip #5 – Be honest with us!
If you see your child is not developing or if your child is upset over something then approach the coach.! I don’t mean start shouting at us but just express your concern to the coach so that they are aware. The more they know the better they can be with your child.
Tip #6 – Don’t become side-line coaches!
There is nothing more frustrating to a coach when you hear side-line instructions being said to the kids. It just confuses them! If you had hundreds of instructions shouted to you would you be able to cope? Probably not.
So don’t do it to your child. All you are doing is causing your child stress and taking away the authority of the coach - making them feel like you don't think they are doing a good job.