iCoachKids: Innovative Education & Training for a Specialist Children & Youth Coaching Workforce.

The iCoachKids Pledge is Out!

The iCoachKids Pledge: 10 Guidance Points to Create Positive Sport Experiences for Kids

Following an extensive literature review, the iCK expert group has developed ‘The iCoachKids Pledge’. The Pledge provides 10 points of guidance for individuals and organisations wishing to create positive sport experiences for children.

Here is The Pledge

As a Children’s Coach I will:

  1. Be child-centred: always have the best interest children at heart and listen to them. It is about what children want and what they need, not about the adults!
  2. Be holistic: develop children in your sessions as people first and foremost, not only as athletes. Aim to develop their psychosocial skills and capabilities not just their physical ones.
  3. Be inclusive: cater for all levels of abilities and motivations. Coaching is far from a one-size-fits-all. Get to know the kids you coach and dare to coach them differently.
  4. Create fun and safe environments: children want to have fun and to learn they need to feel safe. Build positive relationships and enjoyable and caring climates that allow them to thrive and that keep them coming back.
  5. Prioritise children’s love for sport and physical activity: a very small proportion of kids will become elite athletes, yet all of them have the potential to become healthy active adults. Creating that fantastic legacy is part of your job. 
  6. Develop foundational motor and game skills: do not be overconcerned with the specific skills of your sport. At a younger age kids need to gain essential motor skills and learn the basics of how to play games using generic tactical principles to give yourself the best chance of success.
  7. Engage parents in a positive and constructive manner: parents are not the enemy, but the biggest resource at your disposal. They want the best for their kids and so do you. Partnership is the key word. You will never know what parents can offer if you don’t talk to them.
  8. Plan developmentally appropriate and progressive programmes and sessions: we are taking kids on a learning journey. We have to have a good idea of the destination point and develop short, mid and long -term goals and plans that will help the kids get there. It’s not peak-by-Saturday nor improvising a session ‘of the cuff’. Failing to plan is planning to fail!
  9. Use different coaching methods to enhance learning: learning is a complex process and it doesn’t happen overnight. Different coaching and teaching strategies can serve different purposes at different stages of learning and development, complement each other, and help us achieve the desired results.
  10. Use competition in a developmental way: there is nothing wrong with competition. When the format and the atmosphere around competition is built around the developmental stage of the kids and considerate of their needs, competition is an amazing motivator and a lot of fun. A win-at-all-cost mentality can really spoil the party though.

At iCoachKids, we would like to encourage governments, national and international federations, schools, sport clubs and coaches to adopt The Pledge to maximise the chances of sport being a positive experience for children and young people.

We would love to hear how you get on!

iCoachKids is a 3-year Erasmus+ co-funded project aiming to support the development of a specialist children and youth sport through the creation of free resources hosted at www.icoachkids.eu. These resources include blogs, educational materials and over time 3 FREE Massive Open Online Courses covering a wide breath of knowledge and skills.