Why kids make great coaches

Likewise all coaches should watch kids coaching other kids.

A particular example of this was at a junior game I watched recently. One of the teams was coached by two 13 or 14 year old boys. The two boys displayed some of the best coaching I have seen.  They rotated the players on and off the bench frequently; they made sure everyone played in different positions during the game; and most importantly they let the kids just ‘play’.

What happened at half time was the best part though. As the players left the field the two coaches started playing or mucking around on the field. After a few seconds most of the team went out and joined them and a game of ‘keepings off’ started. The young players were taking the ball off the older kids and then trying to keep it off them. The older boys were using some skills that the younger kids had probably never seen before. Maybe they will copy them in future weeks. Three others on the team sat nearby by themselves and talked - no adults. What they were talking about we don't know. It doesn't matter, they were connecting. Maybe they will want to come back to play again because they got time to talk to their friends.

I don’t think the young coaches planned this situation but the kids playing at half time were able to see and try different things with the older kids and ultimately learn so many different things. It was really interesting to watch.

The young coaches displayed coaching principles that many experienced coaches use.

  • It was fun

  • They provided really good demonstrations

  • It looked like a real game situation

  • They were allowed to try things and be creative

  • They were allowed to make mistakes

  • It was athlete centred

What I did start to think about is what will happen to these young coaches as they get older and more aware of what people think a coach should do? Hopefully they will remember these principles.

So coaches out there go and watch young people coach or even better why don’t let your own players run a training session?


Simon Barras

Coaching Effectiveness Coordinator – Mid West Academy of Sport