Coaching young kids can be a challenge regardless of how experienced you are as a coach. All kids are different and learn differently and at different stages. This is your chance to revert back to being a kid and to coach in their world. Here are a number of tips to help you adapt your training sessions.
Remember they are there to have fun
Don’t use drills designed for adults - they are too repetitive and boring for kids.
Work on a 5-10 minute on/off program
Concentration spans are short at this age, so break the games up every 5-10 minutes and do something really different (such as a game of tag) then bring them back to the original game and start again with a short recap on technique.
Keep your explanations short and clear
Again, they are not here to listen to a lecture on rugby, they are here to have fun! Get the points to them quickly and use clear language.
Draw the key technical points out of them through questions
Ask the kids questions which make them think about why they are doing what they are doing. What are the important points to make the activity work?
- Q. Can I stand in front of the ball carrier? A. No - Q. Where can I stand? A. Behind him/her
- Q. Can I tackle from far away? A. No - Q. Then what do I have to do to make a good tackle? A. Get close to the ball carrier.
Re-enforce the 3 technical points constantly
For each game or activity choose 3 technical (teaching) points and ask questions that re-enforce them.
- Tackling has 3 key points - get close, tackle low, and grip and squeeze around both legs.
Work in progression
All games or skill development should build or follow on from previous the previous games or drill. Always start as simple as possible and then build up from there.
Use Language they will understand
Here is your chance to be a kid again. Use creative names and analogies (Don't use the latest technical jargon you might have learnt in your advanced coaching course!)
- Cleaners could be called assassins, whose job is to take out any opponent trying to steal their ball (or gold for really young kids).