Lessons from a wise old turtle

25 September 2015

Two MWAS Coaches delivered a very engaging presentation at the most recent Department of Sport and Recreation Coaches Breakfast last week. Linking the whole presentation together was a video clip from Finding Nemo that showed how if we give children the room to find their own solution to problems they will learn better and have a whole lot of fun doing so.

Riccardo Amazzini and Selina Kiddle had recently completed the FFA youth ‘C’ licence and wanted to share some of the main things they had learnt with other coaches from the Mid West.

The topics included Holistic vs Isolated coaching, planning, and feedback. Below are some of the key messages from the presentation.

Holistic vs Isolated coaching – Teaching a puzzle

Riccardo and Selina used a great analogy to explain the holistic vs isolated debate. The isolated way to teach someone a puzzle would be to teach them one piece at a time, spending one lesson on one piece then another piece of the puzzle in the next lesson. Then once they have finished learning each piece asking them to put the whole puzzle together.

The Holistic way of teaching the puzzle would be to let them study the whole picture and then letting them put the pieces together.


The key message here was that coaches need to be specific with their planning and they can do this by defining what the objectives of the session are and then design the session activities to achieve those objectives.


The teaching process was discussed with the group.

Task – Observe – Intervention


  • Set the task and make sure they understand


  • Let them try to achieve the task
  • Think about what you are observing.
  • Try not to observe other problems that are not related to the task you set.


  • Provide feedback to help them achieve the task.
  • Try not to just tell them that they are doing it wrong.
  • Ask questions to get them to explain what they were thinking.
  • Make sure the feedback is prescriptive not descriptive.
  • Encourage players to learn implicitly by letting them solve problems that are essential to the game. 

Here is the video - Squirt finding his own solution and having a whole lot of fun doing so!