iCoach – Touch

This summer, every junior touch coach will have all the tools they need to become a super-coach. 

iCoach is a series of ten instructional coaching videos created in partnership with Touch New Zealand and Sport New Zealand, aimed at parents who are new to coaching touch, and provide tips, warm-ups and games for each week of training.

Watch the videos:

Trouble Shooting

Coaching 5-7 year olds will always have a few challenges. These are some generic strategies that we’ve come up with over years of coaching, and talking to other coaches.

Coaching your own child

There will be an adjustment period where your child may struggle to define your role in a team situation. Your child might wonder, ‘are you my coach or my parent?’ In the team environment your child will need to learn that you are a coach first and foremost, and you put the needs of the team first as opposed to your role as a parent who specifically meets their needs individually.

Continuously reinforce that you are a coach at practice and games, and a mum or dad outside of those settings. Conversely for you, try not to be too much of a coach at home, just a parent.

Until your child understands the role of a coach, it is not uncommon for them to challenge the authority of the parent/coach by crying and being generally uncooperative. This role definition for your child won't happen overnight. Persevere by praising the behaviour you want and ignoring the behaviour you don't want.

One thing that may help with defining roles is to have your child call you coach at trainings and games.

Dealing with Bad Behaviour

Coaching is a teaching environment. As any teacher will tell you, if you do not control the environment then learning is compromised and the opportunity for everyone to have fun is reduced.

Strategies that may help you to deliver a fun and quality learning experience are:

  • Have the children put their hands up when asked questions
  • Ensure the players are listening to your instruction.
  • Praise the behaviour you want and ignore the behaviour you don’t want
  • Work with the child’s parents to find solutions regarding behaviour
  • Continuously outline your expectations of team behaviour and be consistent about enforcing strategies that address negative behaviour. A “TEAM FIRST” approach will not only promote positive behaviour but also create a reference point to which you can create your team behaviour expectations
  • Get to know the child on a personal level to build trust and develop a caring relationship. Nobody cares what you know until they know you care
The Angry Parent

Prevent it

  • Outline your expectation to all parents prior to competition about accepted parent behaviour. Be clear in communicating with your players' parents how we talk to people involved in our team environment, everyone deserves an equal opportunity to play and that you are a coach that emphasises fun over winning.
  • Check to see if the school have a sideline behaviour policy or a parent code of conduct process.

Deal with it

  • Address parent one on one away from the team environment.
  • Work with the school to find solutions.
  • Give the offending parent the role of monitoring the sideline behaviour.
  • Praise the behaviour you want from parents at the end of the game.
  • You as a coach need to role model the positive behaviour you want from parents.
  • Supply lollipops for overly vocal parents. If they're sucking, they're not yelling.
The Hard to Engage Child

The Hard to Engage Child

  • Invest time to try and connect personally to build a relationship of trust.
  • Within the context of your warm ups and skill games, look for opportunities and roles that forces them to engage gradually eg in tag games make them IT, partner activities, ask them demonstrate when they do something well.
  • Work with parents or school to find solutions.
The Ball Hog

Use constraints at your training to change behaviour by modifying the rules to promote skill development, teamwork and fun. If you have a child that likes to dominate the ball, try implementing rules that promote team work such as passing quickly, not scoring twice in a row, etc. It's good to use constraints as a team, rather than with individuals.

Constraints can also be used in games, to ensure that all players get adequate opportunities to develop, and have maximum fun!