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Arguments/bullying | Coaching Children (Ages 5-12)

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Coaching Children (Ages 5-12)

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Posted in: All other coaching children topics


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  • Laurenhollowayxx


    my rugby team are now in their u11s year (last year of primary) 

    We have been having a few issues lately nothing major but some kids being put down by other players. 

    I don’t think this is intentional by the players but more of a frustration. But it is causing my problems as kids are getting upset. For example, on game days some kids regularly loose the ball in contact from just flinging the ball. This then causes frustration to the players within the team and comments such as “what are you doing” come out. 

    Im struggling to manage this I have spoken to certain individuals and have continuously coached those making the mistakes for their own personal development but it is taking a while to correct. I have also had words with the team as a whole to explain about mistakes and have also spoke to some parents about it.

    Is it just a case of growing up and they will mature with age or has someone come across something like this before?

  • AthleticEvolution

    The Positive Coaching Alliance and Positive Coaching Scotland (PCS) had some great stuff on this, particularly their acronym "ROOTS" - Respect for Others, Officials, Team-mates and Self!


  • Blake

    Hi, I posed some similar scenarios to Nicky Fuller, who is an expert in behaviour management. Hopefully you will find some helpful suggestions in the subsequent blog I wrote with her: How to Inspire Good Behaviour in Your Sessions. The link is here...


  • AthleticEvolution

    Really great points there! Very useful and I like the infographic too! The idea of kids learning social skills in our sessions is something we may not usually consider!

  • GrantH

    It is very easy for players, coaches, spectators, etc. to focus on the mistakes and to criticise players  We can all see the mistake and we know exactly what they did wrong, but it is not that easy for the player concerned to step back and understand why they are making the error.  Focusing on fixing the problem can sometimes make the situation worse as the player is more aware of their short comings and they lose confidence.

    Every player is different and has different skills.  We can't all be great at the same thing or you have a very unbalanced team.  Some players are more creative, some defend better and some are more confident.  But they all contribute in some way and we need to identify each players strengths. The more we build confidence and praise what has worked well, the more a player commits and soon the error sorts itself out as the player figures it out on their own (with our suggestions of course).

    I coach a football team and had a player who desperately wanted to score a goal.  He's not one of the strongest player in our team and often someone else would take the ball off him so they could shoot.  He would get despondent after each game if he had not scored.  I focused on the fact that he was getting into good positions (we talked about where the good positions were for him), that he had taken a shot (ie shooting quicker and recognising the opportunity) or made a move that created an opportunity.  He was able to see that he was doing most things right and soon enough he scored his goal.  I was very quick to reinforce though that he had continued to do all those other things well which had resulted in the goal.  He ended the season with 5 goals and got voted as most improved by his team.

    Something else I tried recently with my team, was to get them to chose another player and they had to identify one thing that player does very well and one thing that they could try to help improve their game. If they can recognise what the player does well they won't then always see the mistakes (or be quick to criticise the player).  And they had to find a way of giving some advice in a constructive way (they were not allowed to slag off the player but structure their advice in a positive way).  Some of the comments I received were completely unexpected and very insightful and made me realise something new about several players.

    This may be a strange idea but I found that instead of looking for mistakes, players had to think about how the player contributes to the team.  It changes the focus and has a much more positive outcome.

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