Posted on November 25, 2022
I am very grateful that every day I get to coach young children to enjoy physical activity and experience overall well-being. When taking any workshop, I always highlight to coaches that what they are doing can be one of the most rewarding jobs in the world.
Firstly, every coach must realise that you are not coaching a player but a person. From grassroots right up to the elite level sport, it is still played by people who need guidance, support, trust and love. This is true at every level but especially at the youth level. Every child should have at least ‘one good adult in their life—someone they can trust and talk to.
Not every young child is fortunate enough to have a great relationship with family and friends; some children may not have anyone to turn to. I always tell our coaches that you never know where a child has come from. Young children can be in horrible situations at home, school or anywhere. They may feel scared, afraid or even think what they have been put through is ‘normal’.
This is where a coach can make a difference in a young person’s life. It’s not just about making them better athletes or players. It’s about building trust, connection and a relationship with them so they feel comfortable talking to you as a person. You can be their ‘one good adult’. One of my coaching goals is to play a part in the development of an Olympic athlete. This could be from the age of four getting them to fall in love and enjoy a physical activity to possibly being part of an Olympic training camp. You never know. When I look at this goal as a percentage, it is probably 0.001 per cent of every person I will ever coach. So what about the other 99.009 per cent?
This is where I develop my coaching philosophy on delivering positive experiences through physical activity. I have the privilege of working with some of the best elite young footballers in this country. Having coached some of these guys from the age of 13, it has been great for me to see them develop as players and young men.
Some are making a fantastic football career for themselves, while others have achieved better success through education and jobs.
Unfortunately, there are also those who, at the time, were probably the most talented and have fallen off the radar. These are the people who I hope I have influenced to pick themselves someday back up and develop into the person we all know they can be. I genuinely believe this is the most rewarding reason I coach.
If you are a coach, maybe it’s time to ask yourself a question. Why are you coaching? Is it solely because your child is playing in that team? Or you wanted to volunteer and give back to your local club? Maybe you are getting paid to coach. Whatever the reason, try and look past all that and see what impact you can have on people’s lives.
When you do this, you and the people you are coaching may even enjoy it more. Thankfully, ' one good adult’ is not just confined to sports coaches. It can be anyone. It doesn’t matter what you do in your life, there is always someone out there who could do with your help, and in turn, you may need someone to rely on from time to time.
ARTICLE BY Gary WallaceGary Wallace, the founder of CORE Kids, has been writing blogs for the past ten years, sharing his knowledge and wisdom on all things coaching, health, fitness and mindset. This is all part of his vision of inspiring millions of people to live happy, healthy, more fulling lives.