The power of little things
When we asked children what they liked about their coach one point to emerge was that young athletes like a familiar face. From a club point of view this could mean providing consistency with the same coaches turning up every week but it could also be applied on a personal level to look at the relationship between the coach and athlete.
One of the most interesting things to emerge at this level was the power of little things. The coaches we spoke to talked about the importance of getting to know their athletes and crucially getting that first simple step right, learning everyone’s name.
Following on from this came the rapport building and getting to know the individual. This time that simple step was not just asking questions but also taking an interest in the answers. As one coach put it building relationships with children involves getting to know individuals not as hockey players but as individuals.
The impact these simple things have on children was shown when they were asked to identify what they liked about their coach. As one child said they liked their coach because:
...when we are walking around the school they are like hi, they talk to you, have a conversation. Even at some tournaments they will see you and come and talk to you.
It’s interesting that for children good coaching often has nothing to do with technical or tactical learning.
If you want to find out what else we discovered about excellent coaching practice with children you can click HERE.