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UK Coaching Team
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Rapport Building and Communicating Organising and Planning

How to Inspire Good Behaviour in Your Sessions

Chatting or laughing when a coach is talking, using offensive language, and refusing to listen to instructions are examples of disruptive behaviour, and are barriers to developing skills and enhancing performance. UK Coaching’s Blake Richardson spoke to behaviour management expert Nicky Fuller for some helpful advice on how children’s coaches can avoid challenging behaviour and provide an environment that is conducive to learning

You cannot overestimate the importance of behaviour management in children’s coaching. 

Achieving positive behaviour in your sessions should be one of your primary goals. The calibre of coach you aspire to become will be dependent on you forming and retaining a convivial working relationship with your players. 

If you were to ask the question ‘What makes a good coach?’, ranking high on the list of answers would be: ensuring training is carried out in a safe environment; understanding the importance of planning and preparation; the ability to conduct engaging sessions; the ability to communicate effectively.

Disruptive behaviour is the spanner in the works that can affect your ability to successfully meet these goals. It wrecks the stable environment that is conducive to learning. 

Bored silly 

Nicky Fuller is an expert in behaviour management who works freelance for a number of governing bodies, predominantly golf, equestrian and netball.

She has written guides for a number of sports organisations and is the co-author of UK Coaching’s Positive Behaviour Management in Sport book. 

She emphasises that creating the optimum environment for facilitating effective coaching requires a skilful approach. Unwanted behaviours – often the source of headaches for coaches who are struggling to master behaviour management – must be managed before they disrupt a session and have a negative impact on a coach’s plans.

Forewarned is forearmed, and as any boy scout will tell you, it is important to ‘be prepared’ and adequate preparation can stave off the onset of disruptive behaviour. 

If you analyse when unwanted behaviour happens, you will find that it most often occurs when there is a break or coaches are talking for too long, maybe explaining the new drill or set-up – those transitional periods,” explains Nicky. 

“That is largely because planning isn’t quite as slick as it might be

“Sometimes, it’s because coaches simply haven’t explained how they want the young people to behave in those transitional periods.”

Planning and preparation, then, are keys to a successful session, while boredom should become the taboo word for every coach. 

Children get agitated when their interest levels drop off and this encourages a breakdown in behaviour.

As an avoidance strategy, coaches should plan the make-up of their smooth-flowing sessions in detail and set the ground rules before the start of training, explaining what behaviour is unacceptable. 

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