The ICOACHKIDS Pledge contains 10 golden principles that will help coaches guarantee that sport is a positive experience for all involved, especially for each and every child.
We would like coaches, sport clubs and organisations all over the world to commit to the pledge, so take a look at the 10 golden principles below:
#1 Be Child-Centred
Always have the best interest of children at heart and listen to them. It is about what children want and what they need, not about the adults.
#2 Be Holistic
Develop chiildren in your sessions as people first and foremost, not only as athletes. Aim to develop their psychosocial skills and capabilities, not just their physical ones.
#3 Be Inclusive
Cater for all levels of abilities and motivations. Coaching is far from one-size-fits-all. Get to know the kids you coach and dare to coach them differently.
#4 Make it Fun and Safe
Children want to have fun and to learn they need to feel safe. Build positive relationships and enjoyable and caring climates that allow them to thrive and that keep them coming back.
#5 Prioritise the Love of Sport Over Learning Sport
A very small proportion of kids will become elite athletes, yet all of them have the potential to become healthy and active adults. Creating that fantastic legacy is part of your job.
#6 Focus on Foundational Skills
Do not be over-concerned with the specific skills of your sport. At a younger age kids need to gain essential motor skills and learn the basics of how to play games using generic tactical principles to give yourself the best chance of success.
#7 Engage Parents Positively
Parents are not the enemy, but the biggest resource at your disposal. They want the best for their kids and so do you. Partnership is the key word. You will never know what parents can offer if you don’t talk to them.
#8 Plan Progressive Programmes
We are taking kids on a learning journey, so develop short, mid and long-term goals and plans that will help the kids get to the destination. It’s not peak-by-saturday nor improvising a session ‘off the cuff’. Failing to plan is planning to fail.
#9 Use Different Methods to Enhance Learning
Learning is a complex process and it doesn’t happen overnight. Different coaching and teaching strategies can serve different purposes at different stages of learning and development, complement each other, and help us achieve the desired results.
#10 Use Competition in A Developmental Way
There is nothing wrong with competition. When the format and the atmosphere around competition is built around the developmental stage of the kids and considerate of their needs, competition is an amazing motivator and a lot of fun.
So there you have it, the 10 Golden Principles for Coaching Children. The main ingredient for a coach is understanding that our job is to take children on a journey over time to become whatever they want to be. As coaches working with children we must be very clear that we are their guide on a journey of learning discovery and enjoyment, but the destination is ultimately up to them, so let's not forget that.
For even more on the ICOACHKIDS Pledge, explore the pages on the individual principles and watch the video below...