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What are your top tips for coaching 13-16yr olds? | Welcome and General

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Posted in: Area for Member Introductions

What are your top tips for coaching 13-16yr olds?

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  • EddieAfekafe

    I am a grassroots coach currently coaching a group of under 13's in the Manchester area and would love to hear some of your top tips to coaching this age group.



  • robertkmaaye

    Hi Eddie

    Welcome to the ConnectedCoaches community...great to have you on board!

    I just thought I would share with you a link to an old blog in the Coaching Youth 13-18 group which has some tips for this age group that you might find useful: ConnectedCoaches members share their top tips for coaching 13–18 year olds

    The blog was collated after members including Liz Burkinshaw  Dannielle Starkie  Gary Fowler  Melissa Marshall  Rachel Whyatt  Ian Wright  Michelle Bagot and Daniel Edson shared their tips in this What are your top tips for coaching 13-18 year olds? thread.

    I’m sure there are other members also willing to share their tips with you in this age group so hopefully you get a few other replies.



    PS I noticed you’ve posted this in the welcome and general group but if you wanted to join other groups on the site like the Coaching Youth 13-18 group that I reference above you can see a list of them here.

  • shootcoach

    Get the parents on board and involve them as much as possible. This certainly works for me.

  • CatherineBaker

    Great to re-read all that fabulous advice on coaching 13-16 year olds. A couple of other points to note. 1. the adolescent brain goes through huge changes. It almost unforms ans then reforms in some key areas. This can have an impact on impulse control, decision making, listening and organisation. So cut them some slack. 2. Teenagers can be quite good at looking and sounding confident, when actually their self-esteem can be quite easily knocked. So whilst I would never advocate 'lazy' and unearned praise, deserved praise is important, and witticisms, off the cuff remarks or jokes that could serve to knock their confidence, especially in front of their peers, should be avoided. 

  • rachelb

    We have 102 athletes in our club and there can be 40-60 of them on the track at any one time.   Teenagers seem to behave like toddlers in adult bodies !  We ask them to respect each other and the coaches. We try not to ask too much of them as anyone time as they can be very easily overloaded with info and instructions - boys in particular. We have had to introduce quite an extreme policy, Teen  (12-17yrs) Behavioural Warning  Procedure,  which I have attached to:  1) share , 2) ask for feedback on.

    We printed the Warnings and gave them out. Some asked if it needed to be given to their parents? We replied that the parents were NOT responsible for their behaviour at track.  We are trying to ask they understand that responsibility is theirs and they must make the correct choice.

    It has had positive results in several ways;
    We have been able to share that

    • their behaviour affects our ability to do what we love (coaching ) to the best of our ability so we can get frustrated
    • their behaviour can distract  those who do wish to train hard/ perform well
    • we have waiting list so expect that they take pride in their membership

    It has also given my assistant coaches a line which athletes can chose to not/cross , so it is not the coaches fault they are being given a warning , it is their own choices that have resulted in the warning.  As such , my coaches feel  they have an overt mechanism to help control and deliver more effectively.

  • CatherineBaker

    What a sound idea. I love the simplicity of the ABC, and the fact that this is for the kids, not the parents. The only thing I would add is that, depending on the age group you are talking about, it can be effective to include the group in the setting of the Code of Conduct/Behavioural Procedure. This can serve to build their commitment to it, as they have formed it. However, with the numbers you are talking about, that would probably have been a challenge too far!

  • Rachel, you have just described teens perfectly ... Toddlers in adult bodies! I find teens struggle to control their emotions, never knowing when they're angry, who they're angry with or sometimes even why they're angry or sad!

    I find just going with the flow works, if they are getting frustrated with a particular skill then I suggest that they move on to something else and come back to it. I also make it clear that they are responsible for how they conduct themselves, although I have found this a challenge with some kids and even their parents. Some parents are great and if they are on board then life is much easier ... if they aren't and come up with every excuse for their child's behaviour and conduct then it can be difficult.

    I treat each child as the individual that they are and work from there, but it can be a trick age to engage with :)

  • rachelb

    When we first formed the Teen Academy we actually did have 20+ young athletes write the Teen Code of Conduct and we did it again on Camp and complied the results.

    It is a little different to the Junior Code of Conduct  as it has things like 'no use of mobile phones in sessions unless with permission for filing and analysing technique. Plus,  teenagers like to have their 'own rules'!

  • rachelb

    FAO Eddie Adekafe:

    Another, more practical in session technique, which engages teenagers is to ask them to be involved with the coaching process - peer coaching. Ask the young sportsperson to observe their buddy and see if they are successful in a particular drill/skill you have set.

    Ask them to score their buddy and then swap and repeat.  

    Peer coaching  facilitates better attention to coach instructions,  lots of learning, observation and analysis, feedback , self-efficacy and ...responsibility ;-)

    Teenagers aren't as 'stupid'/difficult as you sometimes think.  You can  give 'em slack, but also  give 'em credit!

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