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Coaches' Weekly Blog
Week 26 - 11 June 2018
Chris Wright

Coaches Should Teach Life Skills Along With Sports Skills. What do you focus on and how?

As coaches for Wright Sport Services (Schools and Community Groups) and Chance Camp (school holiday sports coaching) we believe in using sport for the greater good. Rob, Ross, Amy and I are passionate about using sport to develop lifelong skills. Our work is excellent for developing healthy habits, respect, communication, focus, teamwork, resilience, courage ..... the list goes on.

We get great satisfaction when teenagers having worked with us as children contact us to come back and work with us as coaching volunteers at Chance Camp. In these young people we see the qualities listed above and it's a great feeling to know sport has played a part in the adult they are shaping to be.

Please read the coaches blogs to see some examples of how we develop these traits.

Rob Jefferson

Coaches Should Teach Life Skills Along With Sports Skills. What do you focus on and how?

I believe that taking part in sport gives children the perfect opportunity to learn and develop a variety of different life skills. As a child my first experience of meeting/interacting with new people and making new friends came from me joining my local football team. Without that experience I don't know where I'd have developed that social trait. Teamwork is a vital skill, which is easily developed when taking part in sport. In life you won't get on with everyone. However you need to find a way to communicate in order to work together and get on. To develop these skills during my teaching, I always try to partner children up in different groups. This is so they can experience different characters and have to find a way to work with each other.

Confidence is another trait that sport can improve. Confidence could be gained from scoring a goal, hitting a good shot or simply answering a question correctly. It's important to build confidence as this can be transferred to other aspects of that person's life. Because of this I always try to keep positive when teaching, giving lots of positive reinforcement. If a child maybe doesn't do something well or says something incorrect then I'd always try to focus on the positive first to prevent that child from losing that confidence.

Commitment can also be gained through taking part in sport. From coaching, I've noticed that children are quicker to drop out and stop taking part. This could be due to experiencing a challenge for the first time or because a parent is happy to let them do so. However, if a child can develop the drive and motivation to carry on working hard in order to improve then this will rub off during other aspects in their life e.g. when they're in school or during work. To try to keep a child motivated I try to keep my coaching sessions fun competitive and different, to prevent them from becoming stale and boring. And hopefully lead to some children playing that sport throughout their lifetime.

Ross McGuire

Coaches Should Teach Life Skills Along With Sports Skills. What do you focus on and how?

I believe that anything children do in sport can help to give them life skills for the future and can be very important in becoming successful in anything they strive towards.

"The world of sport is not separate from the rest of the world. Sport breaks down barriers, promotes self-esteem, and can teach life skills and healthy behavior."
(Jacques Rogge, former president of the International Olympic Committee)

Within my coaching I make sure the children get time to interact with others the correct way. The chance to plan, interact and be confident to voice their opinion to others is crucial in becoming a successful team as each player is vital during team games. I make this possible by giving them the chance to have team talks during games, by asking them to point out things that went well during the game and what needs to be improved. The way I ask this question is important as I am not trying to promote negativity during the group discussion as this may make players feel bad for mistakes they may have made.

I also feel its important to make the children understand authority and sticking to rules throughout the game. There are rules in all aspects of life and getting children to stick to these rules at an early age will make them realise how important those rules are and using these rules can make you become successful in anything you want to achieve.

The last is self discipline and resilience. Self discipline is a trait everyone needs in life as this is the way to keep their emotions right when doing something they find difficult and beat a weakness they have without the temptations of change. Resilience is to be able to recover quickly from the difficulties they encounter. Sport is all about these two traits no matter what the scenario is, I encourage players to keep going and work hard to get the outcome they are trying to achieve no matter how many failures they have encountered.

Amy Lawless

Coaches Should Teach Life Skills Along With Sports Skills. What do you focus on and how?

I believe that sport has the power to develop more than just physical skills relating to specific sports and that the life skills associated with taking part in sport play a major role as we progress through life. After all it is well known that an individual who states they take part in sport on their CV is more likely to be employed due to the likelihood of them possessing transferable skills that can make the workplace more efficient.

Teamwork helps to develop many key skills required for many different walks of life, it builds social skills through communication with others, creates a sense of unity through problem solving skills, encourages co-operation, and teaches patience and an understanding of others.

For me I think the most important life skill that can be taught through sport is teamwork. Within my own coaching I often set small group challenges, have the children create their own rule or tactics and promote supporting everyone no matter what their ability.


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