I’m Just the Football Coach! Why Do I Need to Understand Little Charlie?

Why Do You Need to Understand the Children You Coach?

Tuesday evening, everything set up for next training session. Cones, bibs, footballs, goals are in place. The training session plan is prepared, ready to be executed. Children have arrived, everything seems to be going according to the plan. Yet, during activities frustrations starts to play up.
Coaches start thinking as to why kids can’t do this or learn that. It’s so simple, isn’t it?  The doubts begin to come to coaches minds. If it is so simple, where is the problem then? We have been there before, haven’t we? Yet, we are still not fully understanding why this is happening in our coaching sessions?
frustrated coach
Well, perhaps the answer lays within this question: How well do you understand the kids you are working with? You may think for a while that, this may be as important as your football knowledge, if not more. Why? because It will give you some important tips about child development which are highlighted below. You may be less frustrated also, thus able to plan more effective and successful sessions.
Are you guilty of not understanding that a child will always be a child? They are very good at creating and absorbing new ideas, yet their little brains find it difficult to use all of it at one go.

Tip 1 – When applying a new learning task, make sure you do not ask more than they actually able to learn.

How often have you been expecting a child to learn the whole task as opposed to just part of it? Let me put it that way, if I may. Children learn to read by recognizing letters first. Only later are they able to complete the words and finally, sentences. Once they feel confident and have enough cognitive capability they start to read.

Tip 2- Use a step by step approach so children can first understand the task before they apply and executed on the training ground

Have a think what you expect children to do on the football pitch? Foundation phase players see things differently to adults due to less experience and not fully develop cognitive perception; thus, they may have executed them below your expectations and some may exceed what you expect them to do.
Tip 3-  If a child does something that is not meeting your expectations, perhaps trying to find the best possible solution to the given problem. Simply let them find out!
How often you have been frustrated due to child inability to do something? Let say if you coach for good number of years, many things are simply very obvious for you as a coach. Therefore, your frustration is start growing when the child can’t do the obvious things in your mind.

Tip 4- What is really obvious for you, may not be so simple for the child you coach. Let me use maths example here: 2+2 is the obvious answer for you, but not very easy for a 4-year-old child. Understand this important distinction and it will make your sessions more effective and enjoyable.

How often you have been tried played your little team like Barcelona or other famous adults teams? Is it worked?
youth football

Tip 5 – Perhaps you’ve been guilty of teaching them what you want rather than what they can learn.

I hope you find this useful. Let me conclude with this famous quote: “children are not things to be moulded but people to be unfolded”-Jess Lair