- Coach with an ‘outside-in’ perspective – this means moving around the coaching area looking inwards. This ensures that you never have your back towards players and are able to move around and see all players performing.
- Always stand so that you can see the practice from the best angle. For example, if you are coaching players to run straight, be sure to stand in front of the players rather than on the side. This helps to see their running angles.
- When the sun is out, position yourself facing the sun with players in front of you. This keeps the sun out of their eyes so they can better pay attention.
- Make sure you give a safety briefing before you start each session. This is important to manage since children will not automatically understand how to remain safe during play.
- Ensure the area you are going to use is clear of debris and hazards. If there are things you cannot move (a small hole, for example), mark them with cones so players know to avoid them.
- If there is a fence close to your where you will be coaching, mark the edge of your playing area with cones so that there is a gap before the fence.
- Before you start to coach, ask the players what they can see that could cause them harm (for example, a nearby fence). They are more likely to take in the information if you ask them rather than tell them to watch out for a hazard.
- Check players are wearing the correct kit and footwear.
- Ensure players:
- Take off jewelry
- Tie up long hair
- Let you know of any medical problems
- Get rid of anything in their mouths besides gum shields before playing
- Make sure players warm up before and cool down after the session.
3 Tips for Success
There are a lot of great things you can do to become a successful coach. When in doubt, try these five simple tips for running a good practice or game.
- Positive Feedback – Children respond to praise and positive feedback. Players will be more motivated to work hard during practice if they know that they are working for something. A simple high five or, “Great passing form!” will go a long way.
- Plan and Adapt – Great coaches come with a plan in mind before starting a session. Outline the key things you want your players to learn and the different activities that teach those things. Always have a back-up plan in case unforeseen circumstances come up.
- Stick to a Routine – Children thrive in a structured environment. Although practices should not be the same every time, have a consistent routine such as a warm-up, review, new activities, small scrimmage, cool down. This is a great ‘classroom management’ tool for every coach.