How Children Grow and Develop
Children Are Not Mini-Adults
Sounds obvious, but more and more in modern society we expect, not only more from our kids, but also earlier. Sport is no different.
But beware, children's developmental timetables cannot be accelerated, steps cannot be missed and stages cannot be skipped. We have to allow children and young people time to grow and mature. Most importantly, we have to take into account their stage of development when planning and delivering sport to them.
This section will help you create age- and stage-appropriate sessions and programmes, because yes, children are not mini-adults.
Credit: Zachary Scott
The iCoachKids Pledge: 10 Golden Rules 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.
The long hours, countless sacrifices and dedication to intense training has paid off – your athletes have finally secured that elusive championship. As much as you try to avoid it, almost immediately talk turns to securing back-to-back titles.
Chasing a title keeps athletes hungry and focused. But when a team becomes champion the chase is over, and suddenly it is now being chased. That can make the season following a championship very stressful for athletes and coaches alike. And, as a result, title-winning teams find it very hard to regain anything resembling championship form.
To you and to the many coaches who have sought my advice after winning a title, I offer these informed suggestions.
In this short blog Leeds Beckett University's and world-renown coaching science expert Andy Abraham makes the case for the need to, without making it complicated, embracing the complexity inherent in coaching young children. Thankfully he also gives us key principles that when observed will make it much more likely that kids both have a great time and learn lots.
Have you ever been frustrated, disappointed, or puzzled by your athletes’ behavior? Of course, happens all the time, right? We all experience those moments when we witness one of our athlete’s making a poor decision, showing lack of focus, or just plain acting out of character.
Winter is Coming! Keep warm with a great read by the fireplace! The iCK Team have created a Practical Summary of the comprehensive Coaching Children Literature Review and The iCK Pledge to provide clear and pragmatic advice to coaches on the ground.
This literature review is a central piece of iCK. It has provided the necessary evidence to aid the development of a European Coaching Children Curriculum to guide those developing training opportunities for coaches of children and young people in the European Union and beyond. The literature review and the ECCC are also informing the development of three Massive Open Online Courses during 2018 and 2019 that will be the final outputs of the project.
Athletes perform best when they learn how to effectively handle competitive pressure. This is most evident in defining moments of important competitions when the consequences of mistakes are highest. Failure in these moments can often be traced to a lack of confidence, resulting in poor decision-making.
Kris Van der Haegen, Director of Coach Education for the Royal Belgian Football Association and a visionary for the development of young footballers, encourage us in this brave blog to stop thinking of football as adults, take our grown-up glasses off and see the game for what it looks like and means to 5 and 6 year olds: a fun game! The Belgian FA has done this and thus changed the competition format for U6 to 2v2, yes 2v2!! Learn the full story here!
We now live in an age where it is common to see young athletes being pushed to play a single sport year-round. Why does early specialization persist despite all the scientific evidence and position statements by leading sport organizations to the contrary?
Dr Wade Gilbert explores this more here.
Would you have put your money on David or on Goliath to win the fight? Ok, what if instead of in a mythical fable, this fight took the shape of a rugby or football match? Dr Jason Tee at Leeds Beckett University makes the case for the little guy in this revealing blog full of great info for those with an interest in talent identification and development. Hang in there little guys!
Are you a builder or a gardener? In this carefully tendered blog, world-renowned conditioning coach Vern Gambetta offers his own view of whether to develop young athletes you need hammer and nails or soil and fertiliser.
In this very insightful blog, Paul Gamble cuts through the debates surrounding the concept of Long Term Athlete Development and provides much needed clarity and context to resolve some of the confusion. SInce the 'Why' is generally agreed upone, here Paul attempts to move things forward by finding shared ground and common principles to guide the 'what' and 'how' in relation to LTAD.
The amazing gold medal winning performances in the recent Olympic Games at Rio brought to mind a topic that coaches and athletes think and dream a lot about but rarely really understand: Winning it all. And fewer still know how to prepare to do it.
Dr. Wade Gilbert discusses this more here.
In this short video, iCoachKids Project Supporter sportscotland in partnership with Sports Coach UK help coaches understand the key principles of growth & maturation and how these may impact on their coaching, particularly in relation to talent identification, selection, training, and the role of competition.
This video is a promotional piece for 'Growth & Maturation-Putting Theory into Practice', a 3-hour workshop part of the sportscotland and Sports Coach UK professional development series for youth coaches.This video will set you on the right path when it comes to undertanding your athletes' growth and maturation.
Please visit the sportscotland Growth & Maturation pages here
In this short video, iCoachKids Project Supporter sportscotland gives coaches a quick introduction to the topic of Growth & Maturation and how it affects developing athletes. The video introduces the key challenges that Growth & Maturation pose for coaches and hints at some of the solutions. It also provides some very useful ideas in relation to how to adapt practice for different levels of ability or for athletes with different impairments.
This video is a promotional piece for 'Growth & Maturation', a 3-hour workshop part of the sportscotland Coach Connect professional development series for youth coaches. So don't worry if you can't make it to the beautiful Scotland, this video will set you on the right path when it comes to understanding your athletes' Growth & Maturation
Please visit the sportscotland Growth & Maturation pages here
In this short video, iCoachKids Project Supporter sportscotland in partnership with Sports Coach UK introduce a broad range of foundational principles for those coaching in the performance development section of the athlete pathway. The video covers the basics of talent theory and research: Nature v Nurture, Maturity v Ability, Deliberate Practice, Mindset, Pressure & more.
This video is a promotional piece for 'Coaching Talent-Putting Theory into Practice', a 3-hour workshop part of the sportscotland and Sports Coach UK professional development series for youth coaches. This video will set you on the right path when it comes to undertanding how to implement talent theoy and research into coaching practice, particularly on identification, selection, training, and the role of competition.
Please visit the sportscotland Talent pages here
In this short video, iCoachKids Project Supporter sportscotland offers a quick breakdown of 3 key elements to understand what talent is and how it develops:physical suitability; the development process; and how beliefs shape performance
This video is a promotional piece for 'Understanding Talent', a 3-hour workshop part of the sportscotland Coach Connect professional development series for youth coaches. So don't worry if you can't make it to the beautiful Scotland, this video will set you on the right path when it comes to Undertanding Talent
Please visit the sportscotland Talent pages here
In this beyond cute video Sport Wales, the national sport council for Wales, explains in simple terms what Physical Literacy is and why it is important at all ages but specially in younger children to support the development of a lifelong love for sport and physical activity. Try to get through it without smiling. It is impossible!
This short fun film was developed by sportscotland, the national sport council for Scotland, to help young athletes, their coaches and their families understand what 'talent' is and how you can get good at sport - it's more of a choice than you might think. For more information about talent, visit their website - sportscotland.org.uk
Sports Coach UK and Sport Scotland have developed this great animation detailing the 'Youth Physical Development Model' and what this means for the development of 'Fundamental Movement Skills'.
This research was commissioned by the CPSU for the purpose of safeguarding children and young people in sport and leisure facilities. Titled 'Summary of child development ages 8-11 years for the purposes of safeguarding children in sport and leisure facilities, this research details changes in children's cognitive, moral, social and physical development. Children develop at their own individual pace and some may mature more quickly in some areas of development than in others.
The report was authored by Dr Vicky Lovett of Swansea University
This enlightening research article, titled 'Is my kid doing too much sport?' – How to reduce the risk of overtraining syndrome and overuse injury in young athletes, defines overuse injuries and overtraining syndrome and looks at how prevalent these both are in youth athletes today. It details the signs and symptoms to look out for and how to reduce the risk or overuse injury and overtraining syndrome in young athletes.
The article has been written by world-authorities in the topic Dr. Rhodri S Lloyd (Cardiff Metropolitan University) and Dr. Paul Read (St Mary's University London) for the Child Protection in Sport Unit
Part of the new Coaching Children 4-workshop series developed by Sport Ireland Coaching and Leeds Beckett University, this 16-page factsheet contains highly applicable knowledge and coaching tips designed to help coaches understand how children learn best and what it means for our sessions.
Part of the new Coaching Children 4-workshop series developed by Sport Ireland Coaching and Leeds Beckett University, this 16-page factsheet contains highly applicable knowledge and coaching tips designed to help coaches understand and develop the Fundamentals of Movement.
Part of the new Coaching Children 4-workshop series developed by Sport Ireland Coaching and Leeds Beckett University, this 16-page factsheet contains highly applicable knowledge and coaching tips designed to help coaches understand how children grow and develop and what that means for our sessions.