Recently, I was in a conversation with some passionate coaches, talking about parent helpers. The general gist of the chat was;
”They are great to help but they don’t actually do any coaching. We need to have a coach or experienced player at junior games so they can tell the kids what to do.”
Contrary to popular belief, that’s not coaching. If anything, it’s the opposite. By telling kids the answers they never learn to be creative, adaptable, problem-solvers on the pitch. They rely on advice from on high. Advice that may or may not work!
(In fact, later in the same conversation one coach was bemoaning a dad who was offering terrible advice to his son. Not all advice is equal!)
I prefer an approach called “The Way of the Silent Coach”. It’s not really silent, but it does have far less telling, far more questioning and far more building an environment where players feel comfortable to work it out themselves. Albeit under my guidance and questioning.
There are many critics to this way. I was one of them for a long time. So, I appreciate the arguement. Telling a kid what to do can be super effective. Sometimes you need to do that, but it’s a lot less often than you think.
Why? Because people love having space to play, try things, fail, try again and keep going. That’s partially why computer games are so popular. We have freedoms in those games away from people telling us what to do and how to do it. We play, learn and play again.