Coaching Children in Sport: Principles and Practice

Coaching Children in Sport: Principles and Practice

Coaching Children in Sport: Principles and Practice

Coaching Children in Sport: Principles and Practice

Synopsis

This book has arisen out of a need for a text which tackles the special issues relating to coaching children (from 6 - 16) in sport. Academics (many with coaching experience) and practitioners have been commissioned to write on their specialist areas.

Excerpt

During the last 25 years or so there has been an enormous increase in the provision of sport for children. It appears to be part of the more affluent society in which we live, the growth in television and televised sport, and a decline in the informal active play of children in the fields and streets. More formal sport for children has resulted in a growth in structured competitions with leagues, cups, medals, and selection for representative honours at district, county, regional, and international levels for even quite young children. Indeed, the age of full international athletes continues to fall and it has been estimated that about 30% of athletes participating in the Los Angeles Olympic Games were under the age of 20. Now, as I write, a 13 year old Chinese diver has just won a gold medal at the Barcelona Olympics and a 14 year old has won a gold medal for swimming. However, these are, by definition, exceptional cases. Most coaches work with children who aspire to nothing more than doing sport at club and perhaps county level; this is the vast majority of children.

Increasingly formalized sports structures which culminate in international competition have led to a greater commitment by adults in the care and preparation of young athletes. It is thought that there are now over 100 000 coaches contributing to the development of children in sport in Britain. They bear a great responsibility because they are dealing with young people at a time in their lives when they are very easily influenced and are subject both to the traumas associated with growing up, and to changing interests and demands upon their time. Many coaches have the advantage of being parents themselves or have trained as teachers. Parents learn about how children develop and cope with the world through experience, while teachers may have similar understanding through studying child development. Understanding adults are aware that '…the child is not a mini-adult…' though they may not be able fully to explain why this is so.

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