Let Children Play Sport

Discussion in 'Training Tips & Coaching' started by Jerome, Jul 10, 2017.

  1. Jerome

    Jerome FHF Top Player

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    How many times have we seen it at a sporting field, or stadium where ever we go around the country, adults showing poor behaviour at junior sport or interfering in an over-bearing way. I know that over my 18 years or longer coaching sport, I have witnessed it, and I have zero tolerance for any behavior like it whether it be towards the players, officials or other spectators. If you as a parent, coach whatever want to behave like a thug or something out of the godfather, then for god sake stay away from sports field please we don't need your type around.

    The approach to all junior sport should be about letting the children play, develop and grow, we shouldn't be placing pressure on them to be elite or perform at un-realistic levels, we really do need to let our youngsters have their child-hood. If we don't it can lead to real problems, and I have experienced it twice as a coach, where young players who I coached, had at some-time during there teenage years eating disorders. In each case the cause was different, but ultimately it was the pressure of needing to do better, to be elite.

    Now I can tell you that each of these girls pulled through to the other side, and became stronger, but they should never have been placed in that position in the first place.

    So what should we be doing, well like I say, we should be taking the pressure off and letting them just play, have fun and enjoy what they are doing. Let our youngsters in what ever sport it is soak up the experiences, and enjoy the moments that come along.

    I am keen to hear other coaches experiences on this topic, do you agree that we should be letting children play and not placing pressure on?
     
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  2. nemo

    nemo FHF All Time Great

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    Interesting point , been discussed at many levels for many different sports. I believe that Dutch football only allows kids to play on smaller pitches and smaller teams for example.
    The link between performance and mental health is very evident. "Lesser" ability (hate that phrase) kids get disheartened when they play against those kids that are always more atheltic and are able to basically run through them. A friend ( no plug honest ) in his spare time runs a fitness company purely aimed at kids and it's not about being the fastest / strongest / best. It's about making it interesting and fun , then after a short time measuring their personal development which shown to a individual kid increases their personal confidence and self esteem. But he doesn't put pressure on to improve merely encourages in a positive manner.
    Kids should be allowed to play and have fun with gradual introductions of the finer points (tactics etc ) unfortunately we now live in a culture of success at very age which pushes coaches and parents to in turn , push their children to perform at certain levels. If a footballer / rugby / hockey etc player hasn't "made it " by their mid teens they are unlikely to make it as they miss out on the specialised training and development offered by the professional top outfits.
     
  3. Jerome

    Jerome FHF Top Player

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    Thanks Nemo for your comment, I think we need to change our approach, I know as a Coach I am very aware that I need to work hard to understand my players, and also watch the expectation that we set, I really believe all coaches should undertake mental health training
     
  4. philthy

    philthy FHF All Time Great

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    I think it's also crucial that kids are encouraged to enjoy sport - and any and many sports.

    Often there's too much pressure to "specialise" early on if a kid shows talent in a particular sport. I understand that if you're going to get to the very top, you need to focus, but not at 14,15,16. Why can't a kid play hockey, do athletics, play cricket, and do ballet?

    And if we're honest, the vast majority of kids are not going to get to the very top so we shouldn't be stifling their enjoyment of sport.
     
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  5. dhiggins

    dhiggins FHF Legend

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    Hmm, I think that there also needs to be a balance struck. At some clubs, they are too wary of pushing kids through for fear of them being not good enough, being put off by the level etc. This actually results in the stagnation of juniors within the club as they are good enough to be playing in a club's 2nd team for example, but in stead are being held back in the 4s or 5s. This is just as bad as a child being put under a lot of pressure in my opinion. If they're good enough and want to be playing in higher teams / better clubs they should be given the helping hands required to do so, not just doomed to mediocrity because the clubs are too scared to push a player up the ranks.
     
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  6. Jerome

    Jerome FHF Top Player

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    Total agree with that yes, totally agree.
     
  7. Jerome

    Jerome FHF Top Player

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    Yes I agree with that opportunities should be given, to young players to step up but I also qualify that by saying if they deserve that opportunity and also if they and there parents want that opportunity, what do you think?
     
  8. dhiggins

    dhiggins FHF Legend

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    Ehh, parents shouldn't come into it, parents are there to encourage their kids to explore opportunities but shouldn't be the people who ultimately decide what a child does (within reason, obviously). In general, I think that in hockey clubs, from my limited experience anyway, children are given the opportunity to play at a higher level if they deserve it - if they aren't good enough, or their attitude stinks, they may be given a couple of games at a higher level, but this will ultimately not last.
     
  9. Jerome

    Jerome FHF Top Player

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    Yes parents shouldn't come into, but if the child is under 18 then parental approval has to be sort.
     
  10. BigBird

    BigBird FHF Newbie

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    There isn't a one size fits all solution and, because of that, I like Philthy's words... enjoyment.
    Some kids might want to run around and try bashing a ball, some just to be there with friends, and others will want to be pushed. The mix of those will differ for the levels and ages that you're coaching (eg. club youngsters will contain a lot of the two formers, while older rep will mainly attract the latter). So a good coach should be able to set goals for players depending on what each player (and not their parent) wants.

    At the same time, its easy to get burnt out, especially for those wanting to be pushed. Juniors have to juggle school, extra curricular activities, other sports and they can get drained without noticing. That's when they stop playing and don't come back.
    I'm going through this with an U15 kid I'm coaching now.. super handy, but with everything that's going on, he's tired and completely burnt out. We worked out priorities, hockey isn't up there so I told him to take time off and he's welcome back if/when he wants. Yeah the team would be worse off, but it's better than having a kid hating life and feeling pressured to rock up each week.
    Funnily enough, he hasn't taken time off. but just having the option has made him relax and play for fun... I think
     
  11. Jerome

    Jerome FHF Top Player

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    I like what you have to say there, I agree its not one size fits all thats why I believe my way of player empowerment help in a big way as it is all about working with the individual player and the team to set goals, but also its about like you say creating the relaxed environment. If there not having fun first and foremost then I dont know what other think, but I dont think they will win. Teams I have often had success with have been because they are a happy team, comfortable in there own skin and having fun.
     
  12. Mick Mason

    Mick Mason FHF Top Player

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    What training have you found useful?
     
  13. Jerome

    Jerome FHF Top Player

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  14. Mick Mason

    Mick Mason FHF Top Player

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    Which course did you do?
     
  15. Jerome

    Jerome FHF Top Player

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  16. sanabas

    sanabas FHF All Time Great

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    I'd suggest looking at https://www.mieact.org.au/

    I volunteered for them ~10-15 years ago, when they mostly just did school presentations, to yr 10 health classes and yr 12 psychology classes. Visited plenty of schools to deliver those. There's now more workplace stuff, other presentations they do, I suspect it would be reasonably easy for them to tailor one to people working with kids, coaching them, etc. I've got a couple of issues with them when I was a volunteer and then later as a potential volunteer again, but that's a different conversation. The programs themselves are pretty good. Something like https://www.mieact.org.au/Community_Awareness_Program would probably be a good starting point.

    Organisations like Black Dog or Beyond Blue would do community education stuff, too. But I haven't had any experience of those.
     
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  17. Jerome

    Jerome FHF Top Player

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    Thanks for sharing these courses I strongly believe all coaches should be doing training in this area, so thank you for sharing these links.
     
  18. aussieump

    aussieump FHF All Time Great
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    Jerome, Hope you enjoyed your time in the east especially the jsc and zone challenge series in 2013. Was the program useful for allowing kids to play.
    My experience with the programs has been the well behaved manner from coaches and all support staff for each team over the events.
    Did it meet expectations for development and best social skills development for the sport and from participants point of view.
     
  19. Jerome

    Jerome FHF Top Player

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    The Zone program in Victoria I have always thought is well ahead of the rest of the country, yes the program does let the children play that is certain.
     
  20. steve

    steve Founder/Owner
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    I know it's not hockey but I think this video sums up some of my Saturday afternoons when I'm coaching the juniors.

    How NOT to coach....

     
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