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Coaching is a career that combines enthusiasm, communication and a passion to transform the lives of children and adults alike. When you’re first starting out it can seem intimidating, so how can you prepare yourself to succeed in such a varied role?
We’ve put together five top tips that we hope will give you the edge in your first few weeks on the job. All of these can be useful for experienced coaches too; after all, nobody becomes an expert without remembering the basics every day.
It’s easy to think that a session only starts once the kids turn up, but experienced coaches know that it starts well before. Before you even start travelling to the venue, you’ll have prepared a plan for the session. We ensure that every coach has the office time to make this happen. Often, the venues will have their own equipment, but make sure you know what they can and can’t provide ahead of time.
A crucial part of the Premier Education coach training is the lesson preparation. It’s just one of the ways that our coaches stand out from the crowd.
If you’re a coach, it’s likely that you love the activity you’re teaching – after all, it’s why you started coaching in the first place. But try not to get distracted by creating your own idea of a fun session or focusing on activities that you enjoy.
Remember: what’s fun for you, might not be fun for them. Try to put yourself in their (tiny) shoes and understand what they really want to get out of a session and remember that this is likely very new to them.
Even the best planned session might need to be changed on the fly. Remember that, on the day, the kids you’re working with could be distracted, or have low energy. Be prepared to change your plans a little to accommodate for this. It might be that a slower, more deliberate pace is needed, or it might be that a fun, silly activity will help get them back in the right headspace.
Either way, understand that this happens and it’s perfectly fine to adjust your plans if you need to. It can be so helpful to have a plan B in your head for when this happens, so you can still feel like you’re in control of the session.
Premier Education believes in building confidence, not competition. If a child is getting involved and having fun, then you’re absolutely nailing your job as a coach. It doesn’t matter if they’ll never play at a county level – we’re there to improve health and wellbeing. Remember, whilst succeeding is great, the child who gives 110% (and doesn’t quite succeed) deserves just as much praise. For some children, simply stepping forwards and having a go can be a huge victory, so make sure you give them the credit for leaving their comfort zone.
The fundamentals of movement that underpin our sessions are so important for children’s development. We all know that lots of kids can be impatient to get to the ‘headline’ activity of a session. Remember to use that energy and explain how each activity will help them get more enjoyment from the games, matches and performances they’re working towards.
Of course, sometimes it can be clear that you’re not going to be able to hold their attention until they have a chance to show off their skills. When that’s the case, remember that there’s no harm in being flexible!