LISTEN UP, KIDS: Harvey Sawtell, Walter Sawtell and Harry Jeffs listen to advice from visiting coach Donna Rinaldi.
LISTEN UP, KIDS: Harvey Sawtell, Walter Sawtell and Harry Jeffs listen to advice from visiting coach Donna Rinaldi.

What makes a good sports coach?

FROM a widely considered viewpoint to junior coaching, it is easy to see why past players with rich histories are the chosen messiahs to pass on their knowledge to the kids.

In isolation, it probably does not equate to whether they are good coaches.

Does a history in the sport make them a good coach at junior level or is it more about knowledge of progression, experience with that age group and the ability to mediate?

So as a parent, what are you looking for when window shopping for a club for your child to play at? In all honesty, I can't answer that because it depends on what sort of parent you are, what is important to you and how high your expectations are.

For me, I would like to see the following.

Organisation - The coach is there on time, has started with their plan for the training and is able to show some sort of plan for the year.

Patience - They don't go "off the handle" at small things and can work with the weaker children.

Awareness of poor behaviour - They don't let any child run amok to the detriment of the other children. Can't be walked over by parent or child.

Mediation - Ability to address parents concerns, behaviour and requests but not at the detriment of another child's development and experience.

Skill correction - Spot the error, address it and give feedback.

Sense of fair play - All players get an opportunity to develop, experience similar game time and don't argue with others including teammates, opposition and umpires.

Enthusiasm - wants to be there.

Social skills - Has an ability to interact with the players.

Knowledge of the game.

Out of the above nine points, only two involve the skill of the game. So with the assistance of a player from the club here and there, as well as parents that are involved in the sport, they don't have to be seasoned legends of the game.

You often hear around the sporting traps comments such as "they are not even much of a player themselves, why are they coaching others?"

You are never going to get someone to coach that has every attribute under the sun, but if you can get someone that ticks a lot of the boxes and can be assisted in other areas, that sounds like a winner.

So looking at the above, which attribute do you want to source out? Enthusiasm? Patience? Sense of fair play? Not me.

I would rather source out some skill correction. Don't look for the legend, look for the teacher that supports the values you want your kids to mimic. What values are you looking for?



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