The 10 Keys to Training Children

Have you ever wondered what makes international sports stars the people they are? The answer is in their childhood, where good coaching is essential. 
The 10 Keys to Training Children

Last update: 20 August, 2019

Training children in sports requires a set of clear rules and keys. In the sports field, coaches are also educators and, therefore, their tasks are very complex. Sports are a setting for social participation, where children internalize rules regarding relationships and cooperation.

Children experience sports with great enthusiasm and this is very important for their cognitive and social development. Hence, in addition to teaching the basic fundamentals of sports, coaches will be references in other areas, such as the psychological aspect.

Due to this, they must also provide guidelines in order for the activities to allow healthy development. Up next, we’ll delve into the essential aspects to ensure coaching children in sports, is effective.

Ten keys to training children

As we mentioned, in addition to physical exercises, it’s good to have a set of rules or guidelines so the group can be dynamic. It’s advisable and effective to set clear rules from the beginning and above all, to highlight the playful nature of the sport.

1. Teamwork

This concept seeks to emphasize group functioning. In children between the ages of five and ten years, individualistic attitudes still persist since they are learning and incorporating social norms. Highlighting the importance of the group can facilitate communication between team members.

2. Competitiveness and courage

This principle can be adapted to any sport and it brings out the courage to compete. It’s a very necessary value, but it must be shared with the whole group since competitiveness by itself can’t be the basis of motivation.

3. Healthy competition is an essential key for training children

This concept is especially important. Competitiveness and courage always have to go hand in hand with respect and companionship towards a rival. It’s okay to try to overcome each other, but cooperation and loyalty should always predominate.

It's important for children to value cooperation and loyalty.

4. Communication

The keys to training children in sports have a strong emphasis on communication. During competitions, children are often ashamed and don’t talk to their rivals, or even to each other.

Coaches don’t usually promote interaction between children from different teams, this is a big mistake. We should never forget that they’re children and it’s important to create happy memories of sporting competitions.

5. Exemplary behavior

Cordiality and a good appearance are essential in any sports team. It’s necessary to teach children that they should treat others as they like to be treated. 

“Soccer gives the weak a chance against the strongest.”

–Oscar W. Tabárez–

6. Respect for the elderly

Within the keys to training children, it’s part of the fundamental axis to include respect for the elderly so that children can properly internalize the roles in sports. Moreover, it’s essential to encourage respect for referees since they are an essential part of any game.

7. Responsibility: one of the keys to training children that can’t be lacking

In addition to promoting a sense of belonging to the team, responsibility should also be stimulated. At times, the coaches are the ones who collect the equipment and materials. It’s important for children to take care of this or other tasks proactively.

8. Effort and commitment

Generally, children seek immediate rewards, but it’s the coach’s job to reinforce the value of effort and perseverance to achieve objectives. This is a fundamental source of motivation in children; victories lie in everyday work. 

9. Sportsmanship

This is another principle that can adapt to any sport. Sports activities shouldn’t be synonymous with punishment or torture. Training sessions should encourage an association between sport and good feelings.

Children should have positive feelings regarding their training.

10. The crowd’s participation: another key to training children

The last of these ten keys for training children is based on the famous phrase of the Uruguayan soccer player, Obdulio Varela in the World Cup final of 1950. Minutes before the game with an overwhelming Brazilian crowd in attendance, the Uruguayan captain said to his nervous team, “Outsiders are made of wood”.

Unfortunately, nowadays the crowd’s behavior at children’s games isn’t exemplary. Parents and coaches don’t always contribute to a happy environment, which often affects participating children. For this reason, the above quote seeks to transform the situation into a source of strength.

At times, we question the behavior of elite athletes when they don’t behave adequately. However, what we must ask ourselves is how did they develop these behaviors? The excessively competitive environment and lack of basic cooperation values are the answer in most cases. 

To change this, it’s necessary to educate new generations under a new paradigm, which cultivates competitiveness from cooperation to sportsmanship. We must all be a part of this change!

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