Activ8 Wildcats Coaching Resource | Child Development | Gymnastics

Coaches Resource

www.activ8ni.net
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Activ8 Wildcats Club

Acknowledgements
Sport Northern Ireland would like to sincerely thank Sergio Lara-Bercial for his work in developing this resource. Sergio has drawn upon leading practice and research in the field of coaching children to produce this high quality and innovative resource to support the planning and delivery of coaches within the Activ8 Wildcats Club programme. Sergio is a Senior Research Fellow at Leeds Metropolitan University and is currently leading the development of the technical area of the International Sport Coaching Framework for the International Council for Coach Education. He is also currently researching the maximisation of sport programmes to support holistic development in children and young people. Sergio has over 15 years of experience coaching children from grassroots to international levels in Spain and the United Kingdom (UK) and was formerly sports coach UK’s Technical Lead for Coaching Children. Within this role Sergio led the development of the UK’s Coaching Children Curriculum. Sport Northern Ireland would also like to thank the Activ8 Wildcats Coaches Resource Development Group for their contribution and feedback on the development of this resource. The Activ8 Wildcats Coaches Resource Development Group included: • • • • • • • • • Sergio Lara-Bercial (Leeds Metropolitan University) Simon Toole (Sport Northern Ireland) Anna Boyle (Antrim Borough Council) John Fall (Ballymoney Borough Council) Gary Haveron (The Cliff, Larne) Sarah Kearney (Ards Borough Council) Stephen McCartney (Coleraine Borough Council) Michael Moore (Derry City Council) Trevor Octave (North Down Borough Council) The Wildcats Multi-skills Club programme and session plan resource were originally developed by Ballymoney and Coleraine Borough Council Sports Development Units. Particular thanks for their contribution to this original development must go to John Fall (Ballymoney Borough Council), Richard Gormley (formerly Ballymoney Borough Council), Stephen McCartney and Roger Downey (both Coleraine Borough Council). Finally, thanks to sports Coach UK for permission to utilise and reproduce terminology and imagery from the UK Coaching Children’s Curriculum. These have been very beneficial to this resource and will help to link the key concepts of the curriculum to practical application in multi-skills coaching settings across Northern Ireland. These are reproduced from The Coaching Children Curriculum/An Introduction to the FUNdamentals of Movement with kind permission of The National Coaching Foundation (brand name sports coach UK). All rights reserved. sports coach UK subscription and membership services provide a range of benefits to coaches, including insurance and information services. For further details, please ring 0113-290 7612 or visit www.sportscoachuk.org.

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Coaches Resource // June 2012

The Activ8 Wildcats Club Coaches Handbook

Table of Contents
I. II. III. IV. V. 1. Welcome Activ8 Wildcats Clubs – Programme Aims Activ8 Wildcats Clubs – Coaching Philosophy The Activ8 Wildcats Club Pathway How to use The Handbook Appendices A. Planning Templates B. Observation Sheets C. Activity Bank D. Activity Breakers

The Syllabus 1.1. Coaching the Whole Child (CWC) 1.2. What is Multi-Skills within a CWC Philosophy? 1.3. What are we trying to develop: Participant Capabilities by Stage The Coaching Cycle: K-WEAR 2.1. Know-Watch-Evaluate-Act-Reflect Coaching Children Craft Child Development for Coaches Children’s Learning: Coaching in ‘The Learning Zone’ and The Coaching Strategies Continuum Communicating with Children Children’s Motivation, Motivational Climates and The Role of the Coach Inclusive Coaching: (differentiation) Creating New Activities and Games Effective Planning Seasons, Blocks, Sessions and Activities The Big 6 of Activity Planning A Session Planner that Helps You Coach

2.

3. 3.1. 3.2.

3.3. 3.4. 3.5. 3.6. 4. 4.1. 4.2. 4.3. 5.

Maximising Parental Involvement 5.1. Getting parents to work with you 5.2. Getting parents to work for you Further Reading

6.

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I.

Welcome

Dear Coach, Welcome to the Activ8 Wildcats Club Coaches’ Handbook. If you have delivered in the Activ8 Wildcats Club programme before, you will know all about how it developed and how successful it has been since it started in 2004. If you are new to the programme, the Activ8 Wildcats Clubs: - Have been running in one way or another for nearly eight years. Engage boys and girls from 5 to 11 years of age. Aim to enhance children’s movement skills in a safe, stimulating and non-sport specific environment. Involve an average of 1,500 children across Northern Ireland each year. previous eight years was taken into account to guarantee it continued to offer the children of Northern Ireland an accessible, effective and funbased opportunity to develop their movement skills while making friends and developing a life-long habit of participating in sport and physical activity (Diagram 1). The newly developed programme incorporates a few changes aimed at increasing its reach, its effectiveness and its adaptability to different contexts and participant groups. It also aims to support coaches to better understand the programme’s aims and objectives and to maximise coaches’ ability to consistently get the best out of the children they coach. We sincerely hope you enjoy the new programme and that you continue to give us the necessary feedback to keep on improving it.

In early 2012, Sport Northern Ireland (SNI) commissioned a review of the programme to ensure it stayed current and that the learning of the

Accessible

Enhanced Movement Skills

Fun-based

Life-long Participation

Effective

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II.

Activ8 Wildcats Club - Programme Aims

Activ8 Wildcats multi-skills clubs provide a nonsport specific, fun, challenging and enjoyable starting point for children’s involvement in sport. Sessions include a wide variety of games and activities, all involving the development of skills and attributes that can be applied to a range of sports and physical activities that a child may subsequently choose to participate in. A high quality multi-skills experience is a fantastic starting point for children on their journey towards lifelong participation or performance in sport. Multiskills training can also be used to support the development of children that perhaps have already selected a particular sport, but are looking for extra skills and a change of scenery. Activ8 Wildcats Clubs aim to develop children in and through sport in five key areas. These are: • Physical: Developing the child’s movement capabilities and fitness levels. Technical: Developing the skills and techniques required to play a range of games, activities or sports. Tactical: Developing the child’s knowledge of ‘how to’ play the game and their ability to solve challenges in sports, games and activities.

Mental: Developing the child’s mental capabilities including their decision making skills. Personal-Social: Developing the child’s confidence, ability to build relationships, respect for rules and others, and their ability to find their own solutions to problems.

Each area of development is linked to the child’s stage of development, with increasingly refined and complex skills and challenges being introduced as the child develops and matures to stretch the child’s current ability and maximise learning. Overall the clubs are about providing the highest possible quality of sporting experience for children.

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III. Activ8 Wildcats Clubs - Coaching Philosophy

You as a coach are the single biggest influence on the quality of any Activ8 Wildcats multi-skills club. You also have the greatest influence on the experience and development of each and every participant within your Activ8 Wildcats multi-skills club. Activ8 Wildcats coaches are at their most effective when they display the following key coaching behaviours: • Coach the Whole Child: Provide multipleoutcome coaching for participants that develops not only the physical and technical, but also the tactical, mental and personalsocial. Facilit8: Empower your participants to make decisions, self-discover and problemsolve when appropriate through facilitative/ collaborative coaching. Your questioning skills are crucial to this. Energetic & Inspirational: The energy that you put into your sessions rubs off! Your high energy, enthusiastic coaching and love for sport can inspire your participants. Stretch & Challenge: Use activities which stretch and challenge participants, while success remains achievable, to keep them in ‘the learning zone’ as much as possible. Your knowledge of the child’s development and how children learn are crucial to this. Coach the Individual: Watch and Evaluate one child at a time and Act what you see. This ensures that we don’t just lead activity and coach group trends but really help make a difference to the capabilities of individuals in our sessions. Your observation skill and ability

to apply the ‘K-WEAR’ coaching cycle are crucial to this. • Plan Well: Plan sessions thoroughly including having aims for the programme, the block, the session and each activity. This coaching resource should assist you to do this effectively. Self-Reflect: Self-reflection during and after sessions allows us to consider how effective we have been, what we are doing well, what we could improve on and what we could do differently in the future. Self-reflection can help us on our journey of continuous selfdevelopment.

These seven key coaching behaviours are displayed by Activ8 Wildcats coaches across Northern Ireland. With this as our shared coaching philosophy, we can work together to ensure a consistency of high quality, innovative and continuously improving multi-skills coaching experiences within Activ8 Wildcats Multi-skills clubs across Northern Ireland.

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IV. The Activ8 Wildcats Club Pathway

9-11 Years
Multi-sport and Health & Fitness focus. Coaching movement and game skills within the observations and interventions of the coach.

Operating

Organisation to decide how best to operate these tiers (together/separately) based on local situation

7-8 Years
Multi-skills focus concentrating on Fundamental Movement Skills and Fundamental Sports Skills through fun games and families of sports (i.e. striking, team, etc).

5-6 Years
Develoment of the Fundamentals of Movement and Fundamental Movement Skills within a game based environment.

3-4 Years
Parent and Child sessions incorporated into the 5-6 years phase based on local situation. Focus on rudimentary / introductory locomotion, stability and object control skills.

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V.

How to use The Handbook

The Coaches Handbook has been designed to help you in your day-to-day coaching within your Activ8 Wildcats Club. It aims to do so by providing clear explanations and models of what coaching multiskills and children is all about: • What children in your sessions need and want from you and the programme… …and guidance on how best to go about providing it for them.

It provides a mix of the latest research in children’s coaching and accepted best practice to support you in delivering a quality, progressive and effective programme. You should aim to internalise the various models and practical suggestions and combine them with the ones you currently use to arrive at your own, new and innovative ways to deliver the best possible programme within your specific context. The syllabus and the handbook are there to guide you, not to restrict you. Our aim is to see Wildcats coaches putting their own stamp on the programme while working to agreed values, objectives and standards of practice. We look forward to your coaching making a difference to thousands of children across Northern Ireland!

The Handbook however….

…does not provide magic recipes… you, as the coach in charge need to take what is in it and adapt it to your particular situation.

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1.

The Syllabus

1.1. Coaching the Whole Child
In 2011, sports coach UK published the Coaching Children Curriculum (CCC)1. This document aimed to provide a framework for understanding the capabilities children can develop in and through sport and the associated knowledge and skills coaches would need to support children make the most out of taking part in sport. Multiple Outcome Coaching One of the key features of the CCC was to bring coaches’ attention to the fact that when children take part in sport they are developing more than physical skills. Therefore coaches have a responsibility to plan and deliver activities, sessions and programmes that, while perhaps having a very clear link to the development of physical attributes, also consider and provide room for the development of those other skills. The CCC proposed that children could develop in 5 different areas: Physical, Technical, Tactical, Mental and Personal & Social and all that those areas are interrelated and need to be worked on simultaneously (Diagram 1.1).

Diagram 1.1

Multiple Outcome Coaching
Integrated Outcomes of Sport Coaching: Technical, Physical, Tactical, Mental and Personal & Social

Synergistic Development and Dependability

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Lara-Bercial, S., Haskins, D. and Jolly, S. (2011) – The Coaching Children Curriculum, sports coach UK. http://www.sportscoachuk.org/sites/default/files/Coaching%20Children%20Curriculum.pdf Activ8 Wildcats Club

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1.1. Coaching the Whole Child
The physical, technical, tactical and technical domains are defined as follows.

Table 1.1. Physical, Technical, Tactical and Mental Capabilities. The Coaching Children Curriculum, sports coach UK (2011). Lara-Bercial, Haskins and Jolly.

Positive Development In and Through Sport The CCC aligned itself with a philosophy of working with young people called Positive Youth Development (PYD).

PYD researchers have found that young people that score high on 5 key outcomes known as the 5 Cs tend to make an easier transition from childhood into adolescence and into young adulthood and display more adaptive and positive behaviours.

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1.1. Coaching the Whole Child
The CCC used and adapted the 5 Cs to conceptualise the Personal & Social development children are capable of taking from their participation in sport and into other areas of their life. The 5 Cs for sport are outlined in Table 1.2:

Table 1.2. The 5 Cs for Sport. The Coaching Children Curriculum, sports coach UK (2011). Lara-Bercial, Haskins and Jolly.

Developing Competence, mainly physical and technical, has traditionally been the main objective of coaches working with children. However the 5 Cs system allows us to see how, if we want to help children make the most out of their sport participation, there are other areas that we need to pay attention to.

Diagram 1.2. The 5 Cs in the context of the PTTM model. The Coaching Children Curriculum, sports coach UK (2011), Lara-Bercial, Haskins and Jolly.

For more information on the 5 Cs and the Coaching the Whole Child philosophy visit sports coach UK’s website: http://www.sportscoachuk.org/sites/default/files/Coaching%20the%20Whole%20Child_1%204.pdf

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1.2. What is multi-skills in the context of the Coaching the Whole Child philosophy
From birth to full maturity, children and young people go through a number of phases in the development of their movement skills. Each phase builds on the previous one to support the acquisition of ever more refined and complex skills. Some of these gains are a consequence of maturation (i.e. the child’s natural growth), but others are completely dependent on the child’s involvement in movement activities that promote their development. A well-known model to understand this development has been developed by David Gallahue2. In his Life-Span Model of Motor Development, he divides movement development phases into: • • • • Reflexive Movement (from birth to 1 year old). Rudimentary Movement (1-2 year old). Fundamental Movement (2-7 year old, and Specialised Movement (7 to adulthood).

A very important point in Gallahue’s model is that while in the reflexive and rudimentary phases the impact of heredity is felt the most, as we progress into the other phases, it is the environment and the task that have the biggest influence in the quality of movement competence developed by the child.
Traditionally, the aim and emphasis of multi-skills programmes has been to support children in their progression from the rudimentary to fundamental movement stage and into the specialised phase. This has been conceptualised as seen below:

Gallahue considers three factors which have an influence in movement development: • • • Heredity (what’s in our genes). The Environment (practice, encouragement and instruction). The Task that the child is trying to master (how complex/easy it is and how ‘doable’ for the child at a particular stage).

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2

Gallahue, D.L., Ozmun, J.C and Goodway, J. - Understanding Motor Development: Infants, Children, Adolescents, Adults. (2011). McGraw-Hill Higher Education

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1.2. What is multi-skills in the context of the Coaching the Whole Child philosophy Cont’d.
As shown in Diagram 2.1, multi-skills development, in the main, been conceived as the progressive acquisition of FUNdamentals of Movement, Fundamental Movement Skills and Fundamental Sport Skills. While useful in terms of understanding the various components of multi-skills, this classification has, at times, led to a fragmented delivery where the three elements have been considered in isolation and rarely brought together. This has the potential to hinder learning and progression. The Activ8 Wildcats Clubs will try to integrate the three elements by showing what they look like at different stages of the Activ8 Wildcats Club syllabus and how coaches can develop them in a coordinated and joined up manner. The key job of the coach will be to know when to integrate these areas and when to break them down and isolate them when necessary. In terms of understanding how the elements fit together, the following table offers a brief summary of the three elements.

Multi-skill Delivery
Sport-specific Skills
rugby, netball, tennis, cricket etc

Fundamental Sports Skills
invasion, net/wall, striking and fielding

Fundamental Movement Skills
run, jump, hop, catch, kick, skip, throw etc

FUNdamentals of Movement
balance, coordination and agility

Multi-skill
Diagram 2.1. The Fundamentals Continuum. An Introduction to the FUNdamentals of Movement. Foreman and Bradshaw, 2009.

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FUNdamentals of Movement (FoM): Balance, Coordination and Agility understood as the building blocks of any type of movement.

Fundamental Movement Skills Categories (FMS): Stability, Manipulation and Locomotion skills that over time combine to produce Sport Specific Skills and Combainations (SSS&C) of Skills. One of the FoMs may be key in performing each of them, but all FoMs are involved to a certain degree.

Fundamental Sport Skills: Skills that allow the application and maximisation of FMS and SSS&C to a variety of sporting themes and contexts (net/wall games; invasion games; striking and fielding games; athletics; gymnastics and dance).

BALANCE: The ability to keep our body reasonably stable and steady. It is the foundation of safe and efficient movement as it underpins all other elements of movement.

STABILITY: High on Balance and Agility • Axial movements (bending, spinning, rolling, twisting, pivoting, reaching, swinging, etc) Static Balances (maintain balance while the centre of gravity is stationary, stand on reduced area, tip toes, one foot, all fours, three point positions, etc) Dynamic Balances (different types of walks which involve maintaining balance while the Centre of Gravity shifts)

NET/WALL GAMES • • • • • • • • • Covering/Using Space/Spacing Anticipation/Timing Dictating Play Risk Taking/Patience Tracking Team Mates Tracking Opponents Analysing Weaknesses and Strengths (own/opposition) Cooperating with team mates Fair Play

COORDINATION:

MANIPULATION: High on Coordination and Balance Throwing/Passing (underarm/ overarm/overhead/single-two handed) Catching (close/away from body; high/low/single-two handed) Kicking (stationary/moving object) Striking (with hand/head/implement; stationary/moving object) Dribbling (with hand/foot/ implement)

INVASION GAMES • • • • • • • • • • • Covering/Using Space/Spacing Anticipation/Timing Keeping Possession Regaining Possession Risk Taking/Patience Tracking Team Mates Tracking Opponents Analysing Weaknesses and Strengths (own/opposition) Cooperating with team mates Fair Play Decision Making

The ability to move our body and its parts • in a skilful and synchronised manner towards achieving an objective. It can be internal to produce an action like making a fist or lift a leg, and/or external to time it with an external implement (catching or striking) • • • •

AGILITY: The ability to control the body and its parts in a dynamic context and at a certain speed. It involves the ability to start, stop, and to change pace and direction.

LOCOMOTION: • Running (forward/backwards/ sideways; sprint; start/stop; change of pace/direction; pushing off one foot) Dodging Jumping (for distance/height/off a height; one-two foot take-off/ landing) Hopping (multi-directionally/both feet) Galloping/Skipping

STRIKING AND FIELDING • • • • • • • • • • Covering/Using Space/Spacing Anticipation/Timing Dictating Play Risk Taking/Patience Tracking Team Mates Tracking Opponents Analysing Weaknesses and Strengths (own/opposition) Cooperating with team mates Fair Play Decision Making

• •

• •

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Chart Cont’d.
FUNdamentals of Movement (FoM): Balance, Coordination and Agility understood as the building blocks of any type of movement. Fundamental Movement Skills Categories (FMS): Stability, Manipulation and Locomotion skills that over time combine to produce Sport Specific Skills and Combainations (SSS&C) of Skills. One of the FoMs may be key in performing each of them, but all FoMs are involved to a certain degree. COMBINATIONS • 1. 2. Movement sequences that incorporate multiple skills: i.e. running and jumping i.e. jumping and striking ATHLETICS • • • • • • • • • • Run for Speed Run for Endurance Change Pace/Pacing Walk and Stride Jump for Height Jump for Length Hop Different foot combinations 1-1; 1-2; 2-2; 2-1 Sling/Put/Overarm / Underarm Throws Distance / Accuracy Throws Fundamental Sport Skills: Skills that allow the application and maximisation of FMS and SSS&C to a variety of sporting themes and contexts (net/wall games; invasion games; striking and fielding games; athletics; gymnastics and dance).

GYMNASTICS AND DANCE3 • • • • • • • • • • • • • Shapes Travel Jumping and Landing Balance Rolling Hand apparatus Handstands and Cartwheels Partner/Group work Routine and sequence making/ Choreography Apparatus to move on and through Body actions to interpret words or music Rhythm Accurate replication

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Certain Gymnastics and Dance activities may be difficult to cover within Activ8 Wildcats Clubs due to lack of relevant equipment and/or coaches expertise. It is however recommended that ‘guest coaches’ may be used to expose children to these activities every so often. Activ8 Wildcats Club

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1.2. What is multi-skills in the context of the Coaching the Whole Child philosophy
From a Coaching the Whole Child perspective though, the development of the FoM, FMS and FSS (which fall within the traditional PTTM competencies) need to be carried out in conjunction with the Personal and Social elements. The KITE model developed by Lara-Bercial (2012) aims to bring these together and provide certain cues around how they interact. The KITE model combines the PTTM model with the multi-skills continuum to facilitate understanding of the process of joint up development of all those competences over time. It also incorporates the Personal & Social elements of the Coaching the Whole Child philosophy and positions them in particular places to signal their different impact on the child’s development. • • Confidence as the wind that powers the kite. Connection as the piece of string that links the kite with those around them and the environment for the purpose of anchoring and securing the child as a kind of safety net. Character and Caring as the moral compass that keeps the child on track and stabilises the kite. Creativity as resourcefulness, individuality and flair.
Diagram 2.2 The Kite Model of Multi-Skills Coaching – Lara-Bercial, S. (2012)

Kite Development Model

Confidence

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1.3 What are we trying to develop: Activ8 Wildcats Objectives by Stage
In order to understand how coaches can support the progressive development of the various desirable outcomes in the children they coach, the following tables detail what this means for the different stages of the Activ8 Wildcats Pathway. will allow children to develop more specific skills/ techniques in the future. This will also be the case in the 7-8 phase, but will be fairly differentiated in the 9-11 phase. Similarly, and this will remain the same throughout the pathway, the future tactical development will be associated with the development of increasingly more advanced Fundamental Sport Skills. The following tables have been adapted from sports coach UK’s CCC curriculum (Lara-Bercial, Haskins and Jolly, 2011).

4-6 Years Old
At this level, the physical and the technical are very much intertwined and need to be considered as one. The joint development of the FUNdamentals of Movement and Fundamental Movement Skills

Physical and Technical (FoM + FMS)
At this stage, children should be: Developing basic balance and stability through games and fun activities

Tactical (FSS)
At this stage, children should be: Developing a sense of the space they occupy in relation to the playing space, the object (where appropriate) and others Starting to respond and adapt to conditions and rules placed on activities and games

Mental (Cognitive)
At this stage, children should be: Developing a basic level of selfawareness

Spending large amounts of time developing basic control of body parts and objects through sending, receiving, striking and dribbling activities Gaining competence in using different ways of travelling including basic changes of pace and direction Developing incidental conditioning through activities that include short bursts (20 secs.) and shorter recovery periods

Creating basic strategies for learning success independently (i.e. when I do this, it works!)

Beginning to develop the ability to track objects (i.e. a ball) and others and to respond appropriately

Developing a longer concentration span, turn-taking skills, and the capacity to listen, observe and replicate Gaining an understanding of what constitutes cheating and how it affects the game/session

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1.3 What are we trying to develop: Activ8 Wildcats Objectives by Stage
7-8 Years Old
Physical and Technical (FoM + FMS)
At this stage, children should be: Developing more advanced balance and stability through games and fun activities

Tactical (FSS)
At this stage, children should be: Developing an advanced sense of the space they occupy in relation to the playing space, the object (where appropriate) and others Starting to consistently respond and adapt to conditions and rules placed on activities and games and to basic tactical challenges in a variety of settings

Mental (Cognitive)
At this stage, children should be: Developing an advanced level of selfawareness which allows them to evaluate their performance realistically and to devise more complex strategies for improvement Starting to perform basic goal-setting

Spending large amounts of time developing basic control of body parts and objects through sending, receiving, striking and dribbling activities on both sides of the body and in increasingly more complex/live sequences or combinations

Starting to show a higher level of fluidity in Developing further the ability to track their movement and the ability to apply objects (i.e. a ball) and others and to this in different contexts/situations respond appropriately to maximise chances of success in relation to gaining and keeping possession, scoring and defending Gaining competence in using different ways of travelling including more advanced changes of pace, direction and plane (i.e. diagonally, backwards, sideways, low/high, sprint, etc) Developing incidental and targeted conditioning through activities that include short bursts (20-30 secs.) with shorter recovery periods as well as using their own body weight to gain core strength Showing a greater understanding of the rules of various games

Gaining a greater ability to focus on the task at hand even when tired

Developing the ability to work in larger groups (oppose and cooperate) and understanding own and others role

Be able to differentiate between team and individual performance

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1.3 What are we trying to develop: Activ8 Wildcats Objectives by Stage
9-11 Years Old
Physical and (FoM + FMS)
At this stage, children should be:

Technical (Early SSS)
At this stage, children should be:

Tactical (FSS)
At this stage, children should be:

Mental (Cognitive)
At this stage, children should be:

Developing and showing high proficiency in stability related activities through games, fun activities and task-specific exercises Developing and showing advanced control of body parts and objects through sending, receiving, striking and dribbling activities on both sides of the body and in increasingly more complex/live sequences or combinations Developing and showing fluid movement and the ability to apply this in different contexts/situations

Modifying basic skills to meet specific needs of certain types of games leading to a broadening of technical base.

Developing and showing a high understanding of space and time in order to develop sophisticated tactics

Self-aware in basic tasks to evaluate their performance realistically and to devise complex strategies for improvement and complex goal-setting Using positive language and self-talk Showing mastery orientation and differentiating between effort, ability and results

Developing specific techniques and the ability to show them in live situations

Responding and adapting effectively and consistently to complex conditions and rules placed on activities and games and to basic tactical challenges in a variety of settings

Learning to train for specific skill/technique development

Developing and showing high proficiency to track objects (i.e. a ball) and others and to respond appropriately to maximise chances of success in relation to gaining and keeping possession, scoring and defending Showing a full understanding of the rules of various games

Developing and showing high ability to focus on the task at hand even when tired or excited

Developing and showing high proficiency in using different ways of travelling including complex changes of pace, direction and plane (i.e. diagonally, backwards, sideways, low/high, sprint, etc) in changing environments Developing targeted conditioning through activities that include short bursts (2030 secs.), and longer efforts (60-90 seconds) with shorter recovery periods as well as using their own body weight to gain core strength, power, endurance and speed

Comfortable working in larger groups (oppose and cooperate) as well as by self Be able to understand own and others roles, strengths and areas for improvements

Using tactical challenges to shape technical work

Be able to differentiate between team and individual performance and support others to learn and stay focused

It is important to remember that throughout all of this, as coaches we also aim to develop the personal and social side of the children we coach encapsulated in the 5 Cs as described earlier. So now that we know what we want to develop in the children that we coach, let us turn our attention to the process we need to follow to support their learning and development: The Coaching Cycle.

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2. The Coaching Cycle: K-WEAR

2.1. K-WEAR
The Coaching Cycle: K-WEAR

Watch Know Evaluate

Reflect

Act

The K-WEAR cycle (developed by Lara-Bercial, 2012) shows a suggested process that coaches can follow in order to maximise the chances of having a positive impact on the children we coach. 1. Know: It is important that we have a clear picture in our mind of what it is that we want to develop, what it looks like in the real world and how we are going to go about developing it. Based on this knowledge, we can then prepare our sessions and activities accordingly. 2. Watch: Once we are putting our children through their paces, it is fundamental that we spend time watching and observing how they perform before we try to give them further information or move on to something else.

When watching children perform, it is important to: • • Look at one child at a time. Concentrate initially on one particular action as a whole before breaking it into its constituent parts. Observe more than once and from different angles.

3. Evaluate: Having watched them we can then assess their current level of performance against their previous efforts and the ideal; then identify the main pitfalls in their movement and the interventions that will have the biggest impact. The key things to look for will be detailed later in this section.

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2.1. K-WEAR
4. Act: Once we have watched and evaluated, we will decide a course of action. In the main, we could: • Do nothing: This is a form of action. By doing nothing, we assume that the issue will resolve itself. This may be the case in many occasions. Fine tune specific parts of the movement if performance is nearly optimal. Set up non-directive activities that will support the child to solve the issue independently. Apply a whole-part-whole methodology.

5. Reflect: At this point we ponder the results of our intervention and draw conclusions for future activities/sessions. As coaches, we have a responsibility to run through the K-WEAR cycle constantly to ensure that we can support the children we coach. The Child Observation Sheets in the appendices are a good starting point to focus our efforts.

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3. Coaching Children Craft

3.1. Child Development for Coaches
It is often said in sport that ‘Children are not mini-adults’. Understanding this statement fully and its impact on what and how we coach children is paramount to give them the best possible experience. A few elements need to be considered.

Movement Pattern Development
In relation to the quality of their movement patterns, children can be classified along a continuum going from immature to intermediate to mature movement. A number of key factors can be considered on this continuum. The following table provides certain useful markers.

Marker
Mental organisation

Developmental Sequence: Children…
…will go from unconscious incompetence, to conscious incompetence to conscious competence and unconscious competence. (As they have to think less about what they are doing they can begin to concentrate more on what is happening around them and also start to evaluate their own performance)

Limb Coordination

...will initially appear uncoordinated as they use too many, unnecessary and at times antagonistic muscles to produce a particular movement. Over time, they reduce the number of muscles used until only those strictly needed for a particular task are used and in the right sequence (kinematic chain). (This has an impact for energy efficiency, as the more muscles we use, the more energy we expend and the less efficient we are) …will develop from the centre out and from proximal to distal. They therefore will be able to exert control over those areas and body parts closer to mid-line and bigger muscle groups than those further away and smaller muscle groups. (So for example children will initially be better at kicking/throwing for distance than for accuracy)

Accuracy and Consistency

…progressively become more able to reproduce a given task accurately even when the conditions are changeable as they gain more control over different group muscles and body parts. (As children grow older, their rate of improvement slows down and a process of fine tuning of skills begins)

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3.1. Child Development for Coaches
Cognitive, Emotional and Social Development
A number of key facts relating to their cognitive, emotional and social development impact on children’s learning: • • Children learn best when they are having fun and their brains are fully engaged with the task at hand. Children take information through all the senses which means learning happens in various ways. At an early age they learn mostly by doing, failing/falling and doing again until they succeed. They then progress to being able to watch others and replicate actions and listen to instructions. Maximising the learning potential of doing, watching and listening is the job of the coach. • Children struggle with ‘delayed gratification’ and ‘cause-effect’ relationships. We have to take them on a journey of understanding but be mindful that their most immediate needs have to be satisfied. Children start off being very self-centred (others around them do not exist or are competing for attention) and progressively move towards a more social state that allows them to work alongside others and eventually cooperate and oppose others (in ever growing larger numbers over time). Social, emotional, cognitive and physical development go hand in hand. Coaches need to cater for all and also understand that any of those areas or a combination of them may be responsible for children’s behaviours and learning progress.

3.2 Children’s Learning: Coaching in the Zone and The Coaching Methodology Continuum
It is also important to understand how children learn and most importantly, what are the things that we can do or incorporate to the coaching environment that will enable and enhance their learning. • The Boredom Zone: the task itself or the way the activity is set up leads to boredom and stagnation. No learning happens in the Boredom Zone. The Comfort Zone: the task and the set up are just below or at the current level of ability of the learner. Activities in the Comfort Zone keep learners fairly happy and may serve to consolidate current skills and build a strong foundation for further learning. However if the demand level does not increase over time, boredom will set in

Coaching in ‘The Learning Zone’
In general maximum learning in happens in the space just outside and above our current level of ability. We call this ‘The Learning Zone’. From this perspective, the activities we set up for the children we coach can sit in one of four zones (Diagram 3.1):

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3.2 Children’s Learning: Coaching in the Zone and The Coaching Methodology Continuum
• The Learning Zone: the task and/or the set up fall just above the comfort zone thus stretching the learner’s current capacity and maximising learning. • The Panic Zone: the task and/or the set up are too far away from the learner’s current level of ability. As anxiety and eventually panic set in, learning will decrease. Being in the Panic Zone can also jeopardise future engagement with similar tasks due to negative associations.

The Panic Zone The Learning Zone The Comfort Zone The Boredom Zone
Diagram 3.1 – The Coaching Zones

Where Learning Happens

As coaches then, our main job is to keep learners in The Learning Zone as often as possible and for as long as possible, thus facilitating learning.
In the case of children, a number of developmental factors have to be taken into account when developing and designing activities, sessions and programmes. Understanding this is also important as we go through the K-WEAR cycle. Particularly, during the EVALUATE phase, in order to accurately assess the situation for both the group and for individual children, a mental framework that takes into account all of these factors is helpful in finding out what is going wrong/well and to facilitate the decision making process moving on to the ACT phase of the cycle. The SPECC Model (Diagram 3.2 - Social:Physical :Emotional:Cognitive Development in Coaching Assessment Tool, Lara-Bercial, 2012) provides a high level framework to facilitate the EVALUATE and ACT stages of the K-WEAR cycle.

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Coaches Resource // June 2012

3.2 Children’s Learning: Coaching in the Zone and The Coaching Methodology Continuum
SPECC Model
Cognitive Beam Coaching Session / Activity Emotional Beam
Diagram 3.2 - Social:Physical:Emotional:Cognitive Development in Coaching Assessment Tool, Lara-Bercial, 2012.

Social Beam

Physical Beam

All our sessions and the activities within them contain elements that challenge children in these four beams. As children develop, they progressively walk along the beams until, if the conditions are right, they become a fully mature, functional adult.

Saying that a session or an activity is or is not working well is not enough. If we don’t identify the reasons why, we have no chance of either replicating success or addressing the issues. In the main, the answer to the question ‘Why is this working/not working?’ lies within one or more of those beams. If session and activities are not pitched at the right level in each of the beams, learning is affected as children will not stay in The Learning Zone.

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3.2 Children’s Learning: Coaching in the Zone and The Coaching Methodology Continuum
The following vignette contains some examples of this:

Jenny is a rugby coach working with a group of under 8 girls. She has recently been working on their passing skills and feels they have improved a lot. The children have been pestering her about wanting to play ‘proper games’ and this week she has set up an 8-a-side tag match for the last 30 minutes of the session. The children got very excited when they heard they were going to play a match. However, 5 minutes into it, some of the children started to disengage, some others argued all the time and the passing skills Jenny had been building up were nowhere to be seen. Jenny has used the SPECC model before and is now going to try to find out what is happening today. After a quick 1-minute ponder mentally walking through the four beams of the model while the players were having a drink, Jenny has realised that: • Socially, the girls were not ready to cooperate in such large numbers at such a high pace. Physically, the passing skills didn’t hold under this much pressure. Emotionally, the game was undermining the confidence of the less able girls and they were doubting if ‘being there’ was a good idea in the first place. Cognitively, the players were unable to cope with the numbers on both their teams and the opposition’s and their thinking process was struggling to keep up with so many people moving at the same time.

• •

As a result, Jenny decided to split the big game into 4 mini-games and put certain conditions to facilitate the offensive team using passing skills and understanding space and numbers.

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Coaches Resource // June 2012

3.2 Children’s Learning: Coaching in the Zone and The Coaching Methodology Continuum
The Coaching Strategies Continuum

The key purpose of coaching is to interact with participants in a manner which enhances their learning. In other words, that thanks to us being there, they learn more, faster and in longer lasting ways than they would when left to their own devices.

The strategies we use to achieve this will vary depending on the learner’s stage of development and the area we are trying to develop. In the main, these strategies can be placed along a continuum from an Instructional/Directive style to a more Facilitative/Cooperative one. The key idea here, bearing in mind our earlier points around keeping children in the learning zone and supporting them to learn more and faster, is that

there is no one method better than other and that the coaching strategy we use is entirely dependent on contextual factors (i.e. the child, the task and the environment). Generally speaking though, both styles in isolation produce very different results (see Diagrams 3.3 and 3.4 below) and it is in the ability to use one or the other at the right time that maximum effect is achieved.

Coaching Styles
Directive / Instructional

Highly dependent athletes Boredom & Low Motivation Lack of Ownership

• • • • • • •

Coach led Highly instrcutional & repetitive Strictly structured Technique driven There is a ‘best way’ only Sequential and episodic in nature Part-Whole Method Limites Learning Knowledge Stagnation Technically accomplished athletes who don’t understand the game

Leads to...

Selfishness Lack of Group Identity

Diagram 3.3 – The Directive/ Instructional Approach to Coaching.

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3.2 Children’s Learning: Coaching in the Zone and The Coaching Methodology Continuum
Coaching Styles
Facilitative / Collaborative
Independent athletes
High Motivation & Enjoyment

Ownership of Learning
• Athlete driven (highly involved in the decision making process) • • • • Flexibility within a clear plan Learning is contextualised Focused on player needs Aimed at developing understanding and not just technique • Encourages scoial learning Technically and Tactically Proficient Athletes

Leads to...

Group Identity and High Cooperation

New Knowledge Generation

Diagram 3.4 – The Facilitative/ Collaborative Approach to Coaching.

The following vignette shows how both styles are fit for purpose in different situations.

Kieran is an athletics coach working with a mixed group of under 6 children. He wanted the kids to experiment with some of the equipment tonight independently, particularly around throwing actions. Kieran has laid out foam javelins and soft balls all over the playing area and has asked the kids to pick them up and alternatively do throws for distance and accuracy creating their own targets. The children have got very excited and in general are doing what they were asked to do. Kieran, however, is watching them and realising that most of the throws are the same and that the kids are not being able to differentiate between distance and accuracy. He pulls the group together and asks the group a few questions to try and get them to understand the activity, but the kids are not grasping the key ideas. Kieran decides to be a little more directive to get them over the hurdle and sets up a couple of activities specifically targeting distance and accuracy throws and gives them some pointers around the back swing and the leg position. The children make rapid progress and when put back into the ‘experiential’ activity do much better.

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3.3 Communicating With Children
A very important part of coaching children effectively resides in our ability to communicate appropriately with them so we can get our message across while also understanding their needs and emotions. Below there are some key points to be aware off in the areas of explanations, demonstrations, effective questioning, active listening and feedback provision.

Demonstrations
Effective demonstrators plan: • Who will demonstrate (Are they comfortable doing so? Is it always the same person? Could it be a guest athlete?) How will it happen (Can everyone see it? Do they need to see it from various vantage points? Have they got the sun/floodlights in their eyes? Are there any distractions such as parents or others in their sightline?) If it will focus on particular aspects of the skill or the whole? How realistic will it be? What equipment will be needed (Do you need modified equipment for this particular group?) When in the session will it happen? How do we know that it was effective (Do you need to check for understanding after the demonstration? Are they doing what you asked them to do?)

Explanations
Effective explainers: • Make clear and brief statements during the early stages of a training session about what skills and tactics are to be learned, when to use them and how to do them. Provide opportunities to practice what has been explained. Simplify or ‘chunk’ the information to avoid confusing the children with too much information (one or two points of focus at a time). Direct (and re-direct) attention to the important parts of the skill or tactic. Question children to get them to make decisions and comparisons that aid their learning. Help children to understand by creating images and cue words that they can use to build on previous experiences and skills. •

• •

• •

• •

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3.3 Communicating With Children
Kidman and Hanrahan (2005)4 have developed a useful framework for questioning for coaches

Stage 1: Prepare the question
• • • • Identify the purpose Determine the content focus (according to athlete need) Understand the cognitive, physical, social and emotional levels of the athletes Formulate the question for the athletes’ levels of understanding

Stage 2: Present the question
• • • Indicate how athletes can respond (i.e. , raise hands to answer) Ask the question, then step back and let the athletes formulate answers Select athlete or athletes to answer

Stage 3: Encourage athlete responses
• • • Use wait time to determine whether to encourage responses Assist athletes to respond (if necessary) Use athletes’ cues to encourage responses

Stage 4: Process athlete responses
• • • • • Listen carefully Pause following athletes’ responses Provide appropriate feedback (according to athletes’ responses) Expand responses Encourage athlete reactions and questions

Stage 5: Reflect on the questioning process
• • • • Analyse questions asked Reflect on which athletes responded and how Evaluate athlete response patterns Examine coach and athlete reactions

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Kidmand, L. and Hanrahan, S.J. The Coaching Process: A Practical Guide to Becoming an Effective Sports Coach. (2010). Routledge.

Coaches Resource // June 2012

3.3 Communicating With Children
Active Listening
Effective listeners: • Stay focused on what the child is saying and avoid the temptation to start phrasing their response while the child is still talking. Try to put themselves in the other child’s shoes. Regularly pause to ensure their interpretation of what the child is saying is correct by using paraphrasing or questioning techniques. Focus on trying to understand and clarify what is actually happening for the sake of both the child and themselves. Often, when the real issue is brought to the fore, a clear solution follows. Avoid allowing their feelings to get in the way of what is being said.

Feedback
Effective feedback has the following components (Kidman and Hanrahan, 2005): • It offers what was good, what could be improved and how it can be improved. It goes beyond generic information (i.e. ‘well done’) offering specific points for consideration. It is positive in nature leading to enhanced selfesteem and the will to do the necessary work to improve. It is immediate just after the performance (providing the athlete is mentally ready to receive it). It is focused on the specific aspects being worked at that particular time.

• •

Coaches Challenge: Pick 3 communication-related coaching behaviours you want to pay more attention to in the next few weeks and plan when and how you will put them into practice.
Coaches Notes:

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3.4 Children’s Motivation, Motivational Climates and The Role of the Coach
When looking at children’s motivation to take part in sport it is important to look beyond the typical ‘how motivated’ they are and get under the skin of what makes up of a ‘motivated child’. Self-Determination Theory (Deci and Ryan, 2000 ) provides a useful framework to look at this. In a nutshell, SDT states that human behaviour, in the main, is driven by the need to satisfy three universal psychological needs:
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The Need to Belong: feeling that one is part of something bigger that oneself and the sum of the parts. The Need Competence: a sense of being capable of doing things which are valuable to us and those around us.

The Need for Autonomy: being able to function without needing (much) support and making own decisions.

The level to which an activity addresses the need for any or all three of these basic human needs determines how intrinsically motivating this activity is to the individual in question or how ‘selfdetermined’ this individual becomes (Diagram 3.5).

The Continuum of Motivation Regulations
Highly Autonomous Motivation

Intrinsic Identified Introjected

‘I do...because I love it / enjoy it’ ‘I do...because I value the benefits’ ‘I do...because I feel that I should’ ‘I do...because I have to / to receive some reward’ ‘I don’t know why I do...’

Highly Controlled Motivation Lack of Motivation

External Amotivation

Diagram 3.5 – The Continuum of motivation regulations. Adapted from Quested and Duda (2011)6.

5

6

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Deci, E. L., and Ryan, R. M. (2000). The ‘what’ and ‘why’ of goal pursuits: Human needs and the self-determination of behavior. Psychological Inquiry, 11, 227-268. Quested, E., & Duda, J. L. (2011). Enhancing children’s sport experiences and personal development: A motivational perspective. In R. Bailey & I. Stafford (Eds.), Coaching children in sport. London, Routledge.

Coaches Resource // June 2012

3.4 Children’s Motivation, Motivational Climates and The Role of the Coach
The interesting part for us is that what we do as coaches can greatly impact on both the quality and quantity of the motivation of the children we coach. In turn, this leads to a number of choices and behaviours on their part that will impact on the quality and quantity of their participation, engagement and learning outcomes.

Schematic Representation of SDT
Basic psychological needs Social contextual factors

Motivation regulations

Consequences

Self-determination

Autonomy Belonging Competence

Autonomy support Social Support Motivational Climate

Intrinsic Identified Introjected Extrinsic Amotivation

Behaviour Performance Effort Persistence Well/ill-being

Diagram 3.6 – Schematic representation of SDT. Adapted from Quested and Duda, 2011.

It is easy to see the links between the three basic human needs of Autonomy, Relatedness (belonging) and Competence and some of the things we have talked about already: • Autonomy can be supported by using a facilitative coaching methodology that allows participants to have a say about what and how where appropriate, encourage self-reflection and support cooperative work between participants. Belonging is very similar to the element of Connection we saw as part of the Coaching the Whole Child philosophy.

Competence, in a similar way to the way we described it in the Coaching the Whole Child section, is about fostering the development of a number of capabilities by setting appropriate tasks. As we have seen, the more we keep children in the Learning Zone, the more competent they become. However, there is something we must look at around the development of competence that has the potential to be a ‘game-changer’ for the children we coach. We are talking about the Motivational Climate.

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3.4 Children’s Motivation, Motivational Climates and The Role of the Coach
Motivational Climates
In a nutshell, research shows that people tend to understand competence or ability in one of two ways: • Mastery-Orientation: competence is understood in a self-referenced way. From this perspective ‘I am happy when I improve on myself’. Performance-Orientation: competence is demonstrated only when beating others: ‘I am happy when I prove that I’m the best or very good at something’. Children carry these ‘thinking modes’ around and the important thing for us is that which mode they favour has an impact on their behaviours, learning and coping strategies in sport. • • Mastery-Oriented children are happy when they try hard, when they improve on previous performance and tend to relish the challenge and stick with tasks longer. Their self-confidence is more stable as a result. Performance-Oriented children are only happy when they feel superior, shy away from challenges where their competence may come into question and are affected by failure or poor results in a much more incapacitating way than their mastery-oriented companions. Their selfconfidence fluctuates. But we also know that coaches’ actions can have a great impact on the ‘thinking mode’ adopted by the child. This is called ‘setting the motivational climate’ and provides coaches with a number of tools to add to their coaching bag. This is how the two potential climates compare and how coaches can go about fostering one or the other.

Ego-oriented climate Coach’s Cues
Constant comparison between athletes Focus on demonstrating superior performance

Task-oriented climate Athlete Responses
Lower self-esteem Anxiety Health risks (i.e. unhealthy eating) Not taking any risks Frustration when a mistake is made Cliques and segregation

Coach’s Cues
Self-referenced judgements of competence Focus on effort and improvement (emphasis on personal development) Mistakes are part of learning

Athlete Responses
Enjoyment Sense of improvement Overall well-being

Low tolerance of mistakes

Risk taking Using mistakes as learning opportunities Supporting each other

Favouritism towards more capable athletes

Cooperative learning

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3.4 Inclusive Coaching - Differentiation
Children arrive at sessions at very different points in their developmental journey. This means that within one single group of children we will find large differences not only in their ability to perform physical tasks, but in all four beams of the SPECC model. These differences may be due to maturational (children mature at different rates) or developmental (some children will have accumulated more practice hours) factors. It is also important to acknowledge that some of the children coming to our sessions will have a physical or learning disability. As coaches, making sure that we cater for everyone in our sessions is fundamental. This is called ‘differentiating’. There are a number of useful frameworks that allow coaches to differentiate between and within sessions to ensure the tasks we set up are fit for purpose. We will look at the Inclusion Spectrum Framework (ISF) developed by Ken Black and Pamela Stevenson7.

The Inclusion Spectrum Framework

Everyone Can Play Open

Alternate Activity Separate

Adapted Physical Activity / Disability sport

Change to include Modified

Diagram 3.7 – The Inclusion Spectrum Framework. Stephenson and Black, 2011.

Ability Groups Parallel

STEP

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Stevenson, P. and Black, Ken. The Inclusion Spectrum Framework (2011). http://www.icsspe.org/documente/Ken_Black_-_Inclusion_Spectrum_summary.pdf Activ8 Wildcats Club

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3.4 Inclusive Coaching - Differentiation
The ISF shows the various ways in which activity can be presented and modified to ensure that every child is able to join in, learn and experience a certain level of achievement and success. It presents four main ways of presenting physical activity: 1. Open Activity: everyone can play without the need to modify the activity.

2. Change to Include Activity: everyone does the same activity but we incorporate a number of changes to support all children can take part. This method incorporates the widely known STEP model, which we will review later in this section. 3. Ability Groups Activity: children are grouped according to ability and do the same activity or a modified version which meets their needs. 4. Separate Activity: some participants work separately for a given time to develop a number of skills that will help them be more successful when they re-join the group. 5. Adapted Physical Activity/Disability Sport: we bring in activities, games or sports that are based on adapted physical activity or disability sport programmes. It is important to note that, at times, to be able to set up these different environments, we may need more than one coach, but that in some other occasions this can be achieved with one coach only. It will always take a bit of forward planning though… and even some quick thinking on your feet as we are faced with unexpected situations (i.e. weather, size of pitch, unusually high numbers, etc), hence the value of trying to keep this model present in your mind at all times.

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3.4 Inclusive Coaching - Differentiation
The STEP model
The STEP model will allow us to be more inclusive in our sessions by making activities easier or harder on demand. It will also help us to modify and/or create new activities to work on something in a different way to avoid boredom, move children on, or when we need to work on something different but still want to use a relatively similar set up. It can also serve the purpose of creating completely new activities to enhance our coaching toolkit. Each letter of STEP stands for a different category of things we can alter within an activity:

Space Task

Changes to the size of the playing area or the distance to be covered by the participants or the implements they are playing with or the target area. Changes to the actual task. For instance going from running to skipping or from passing the ball with our hands to using our feet to do so. It could also include changes to the scoring system or include time constraints. Changes to the implements we use. For example the size/weight of the ball, size of the racket/bat head, etc. Changes to the number of people involved in the activity or the group composition.

Equipment People

The following example provides an illustration of the STEP model in action. Mike is working with a group of 20 ten year olds which contains both boys and girls of different abilities and experience. He has planned to work on their passing skills and also on their ability to move into space and dodge. To do so he has set up a passing and tagging activity called Ball Tag. In Ball Tag, 2 players try to tag another one with the ball within a given space. The ball carriers have to tag the person with the ball not hit them with it. The following offers a sample of the possibilities that Mike could consider to change the activity if needed.

cannot be tagged but limiting the amount of time he/she can spend there (this is a task change!). • Creating ‘no go’ areas for the runner.

Task
• Changing the way in which people are allowed to move. For example, the taggers can run, but the runner can only hop/skip/sidestep (and vice versa). Limiting the number of passes (i.e. if they get to 6 passes and the runners has not been tagged, the runner wins the point). Limiting the time they have to tag the runner. Changing the way in which they can pass the ball (underarm, overarm, overhead, one/two hands, weak hand only).

Space:
• • Making the playing area bigger/smaller to give the runner an advantage/disadvantage. Creating safe areas (‘dens’) where the runner •

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3.4 Inclusive Coaching - Differentiation
Equipment
• Using different types of ball (bigger/smaller/ different shapes/weights). Using catching aids (mitts).

People
• Increasing/decreasing number of ball carriers/ runners. Nominating people with special powers (this player can move/pas/tag in a special way).

Coach’s Challenge: Pick one of the activities you most use in your coaching and imagine what changes you could make to it using the STEP model. Describe what the activity is and predict how the changes would affect it.
Coaches Notes:

As we have just seen, adapting and modifying activities can be easily achieved using the STEP model. Now, if you want to create more new activities or games, here are some key questions and tips to do it: • What do you need it for? What do you need the activity to do for you?

• 1. 2. 3. 4.

Consider the opposites: i.e. going from… stationary to on the move. unopposed to partially/fully opposed. individual to pairs to small groups to big groups. whole movement/concept to part movement/ concept. You could also

• • Do you know any activities/games that do something close to what you need? If so, what would you have to change to get what you need? Which STEP component would help you the most? 1.

exaggerate a key aspect of what you are trying to coach. 2. create organic conditions that foster learning.

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3.5 Creating New Activities and Games
As we have just seen, adapting and modifying activities can be easily achieved using the STEP model. Now, if you want to create more new activities or games, here are some key questions and tips to do it: • What do you need it for? What do you need the activity to do for you? Do you know any activities/games that do something close to what you need? If so, what would you have to change to get what you need? Which STEP component would help you the most? Consider the opposites: i.e. going from… 1. stationary to on the move. 2. unopposed to partially/fully opposed. 3. individual to pairs to small groups to big groups. 4. whole movement/concept to part movement/concept. You could also 1. exaggerate a key aspect of what you are trying to coach. 2. create organic conditions that foster learning.

Coach’s Challenge: Pick one skill/concept you have been grappling with in your coaching. Describe what you want to achieve and use the ideas above to create a new activity/game to do it.
Coaches Notes:

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4. Effective Planning

1. If you want to know which train to catch, you need to know where you are going first 2. Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail 3. Plan to Plan
The sentences above highlight the importance of planning towards achieving any objective. Statement 1 points at the fact that it is pointless to plan unless we know what we want to achieve. Our Activ8 Wildcats Club syllabus provides us with a very good idea of where we want to go, of what the finished article looks like and how it shapes up over the course of the Activ8 Wildcats Club pathway. Statement 2 refers to the fact that while planning does not guarantee success, it goes a long way in increasing the odds that it happens while minimising the chances of things going wrong. It also hints at the notion that even if we are successful in achieving our objectives, unless we follow a plan of action, we will never know how and why it happened that way and thus will not be able to consistently replicate the process. Planning sets the self-reflection process in motion (remember the K-WEAR model). Finally, statement 3 points at the often overlooked fact that planning takes time and that we, therefore, need to make time to plan. Any time we spend planning is time well spent. Ideally, we want to plan well ahead of the sessions, but in any case, it is better to start a session 5 minutes late8 and use those 5 minutes to plan it, than improvise as we go along. So let’s look at some key principles and tools to help us plan our clubs and sessions.

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Providing this does not compromise the safety of the children

Coaches Resource // June 2012

4.1. Seasons, Blocks, Sessions and Activities
The syllabus provides us with a fairly detailed picture of the target destination for the different stages of the pathway. In terms of planning how we are going to deliver that picture, it is important we start from the destination point and then work backwards.

The Activ8 Wildcats Club Season
An Activ8 Wildcats Club season runs roughly over 2 blocks of 10 sessions each. So that’s our starting point, we roughly have 20 weeks/sessions to get it done. This is what sport scientists call a macrocycle.

Session Blocks
Session blocks, what could be referred to as meso-cycles, help us break the season down into smaller chunks with their objectives and targets. The principle is that each session block or mesocycle would build on the previous one leading to the achievement of the season’s objectives. Having a clear idea of what the priorities are for each block helps keeping both coaches and participants focused on the task at hand. It also provides milestones which, when reached, will provide everyone with a good dose of pride and self-esteem9. Session blocks can contain as few as 2 sessions and as many as you want, but for a 20 week programme, the following breakdown would be recommended10(Diagram 4.1).

Although the Activ8 Wildcats Club syllabus provides the key outcomes for the macro-cycle, it is important that we do not take anything for granted and that we assess each group and child individually to establish the main outcomes for that particular group, child and season.

How we express these micro-cycle goals to our participants will depend very much on their age/stage of development and impacted by their cognitive and emotional development. 10 The actual content of each session block will be determined by the syllabus at each stage and by the assessment of the group/children in a particular club.
9

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4.1. Seasons, Blocks, Sessions and Activities

Block 2 = 4 weeks (6)
Focus on establishing / refreshing key skills and concepts needed for the rest of the season.

Block 1 = 2 weeks
Welcome Familiarisation Assessment

Block 3 = 4 weeks (10)
Focus on building new skills and concepts

Festival (20)

Festival (11)

Block 5 = 4 weeks (19)
Testing newly acquired skills in more challenging environments

Block 4 = 4 weeks (15)
Continue to focus on building new skills and concepts

Diagram 4.1 – Recommended planning cycle.

Session Planning
The obvious next step once we have our session blocks in place is to work out how each session will contribute to the key goals for that block. The following section will look at how we can achieve this systematically.

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4.2. The Big 6 of Session and Activity Planning
Over the years, we have developed (Lara-Bercial, 2011) a number of key questions that we must ask ourselves when planning sessions and activities within those sessions. We call this ‘The Big 6’11 and they are as follows: 1. • Is it FUN? If not, you have to find a way to make it fun or change to a different activity. Fun may mean different things: it is not just about having them rolling over on the floor with laughter. Remember SDT and how the three basic human needs of Autonomy, Belonging and Competence lead to intrinsic motivation and enjoyment.

Importantly, good coaches should be asking themselves these questions all the time while they are coaching as part of the K-WEAR cycle.
This will support their decision-making in the ACT phase. The answer to each of the questions will send you on a different path which will hopefully mean that you get closer to the objectives you set out right at the beginning. So now that we have established the key elements of planning in relation to the objectives of the Activ8 Wildcats Club programme, let’s look at a session planner that will help you make sure that you have crossed all the T’s and dotted all the I’s12.

2. Do we know what the kids are getting out of this activity? • • What specific skills are they developing? How?

3. Is it appropriate for their age/stage of development? 4. Does it match my session, block and season objectives? 5. • Could I modify/adapt it if it doesn’t work? Remember STEP.

6. What is the intensity level of the activity/ session? • If low, I have to plan for other high intensity activities to go with it and vice versa.

11 ‘The Big 6’ refer to the nature of the activity in relation to the group and children within it. Other factors like the environment, group mood or unexpected situations are not covered by the big 6. Most of these elements will be picked up in the session planner 12 The proposed session planner is but a starting point for you. You are encouraged to modify it and adapt it to suit your needs and those of the group and children you coach.

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4.2. The Big 6 of Session and Activity Planning
A Session Planner that helps you coach
As hinted at in the previous paragraph, the purpose of a session planner goes beyond the recording of the activities you plan to use. An effective session planner should ‘do what is says on the tin’: ‘it should help you plan appropriately’. It should also help you go through the K-WEAR cycle both in action (during the session) and on action (after the session). From that point of view, it should contain certain information to support these processes: • • A summary/reminder of the overall goals for this group (linked to the season and session block objectives). A clear set of main goals for the session. A brief ‘key-word’ description of what each activity aims to achieve. An orientation of how long you wish to spend on each activity. Space for comments/review/action taken/ potential teaching points. Space for self-reflection post-session. Room for participant feedback. • The following planner is starting point. Coaches are encouraged to modify it and adapt it to suit your needs and those of the group and children you coach. We have chosen to do our session planner on an Excel spread sheet as this will help you in a number of ways: • It will make it easy to store, file and share sessions. It will simplify and speed up the planning process as you will be able to access previous sessions rapidly and also use the ‘copy and paste’ feature where appropriate. It will help the self-reflection process as you will be able to record and keep your thoughts and also refresh your memory in a flash by looking at previous sessions or the season and block plan.

• •

• •

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Wildcats Activ8 Club
Session no: Coach/es: Expected Numbers: Time: Date:

Level:

Equipment needed:

Special info:

Programme Goals Reminder:

Block Objectives:

Session Objectives:

P&S

Phy/Tech

Tactical:

Mental:

4.2. The Big 6 of Session and Activity Planning

Session Content

Activity Aims

Comments / Potential Action

Time

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5. Maximising Parental Involvement

At times, we get the feeling that coaches are divided into those who think about parents as a necessary evil, and those who realise that parents are not only fantastic tools to support them to achieve their objectives, but moreover, a very involved and committed stakeholder in the whole coaching endeavour. Perhaps even more involved and committed than the children themselves.

What we cannot escape is the fact that parents understandably have a huge vested interest in their children’s extra-curricular activities. This may be for very different reasons and expressed in a variety of ways, but at the end of the day, we cannot underestimate the impact, both positive and negative, that parents can have in the work we do as coaches. Hence the need to have them on ‘our side’.

5.1. Getting parents to work for you
The first step is to get parents to work for you, and by this we mean ensuring that all their actions before, during and after the sessions are geared towards giving their children their best possible chance to enjoy the activity and learn as much as possible. Some ways to ensure this: • Parents need to clearly understand what is expected from them and their children before, during and after the sessions. Simple things like time-keeping, having appropriate kit or understanding the etiquette of the sessions will go a long way. Coaches can set the tone and raise expectations all around by setting good practice examples. Being on time, looking the part, acting in a polite manner, planning thoroughly or showing genuine care for the children are all behaviours that rub off on others and also help coaches to gain their trust. • Parents like to know what their children are there to do and why it is good for them. They also like to know if there is anything they can do to help their children get better away from the sessions. Casual chats, parents meetings and short leaflets can help coaches in this respect. Parents like to know that coaches care about their children as people. Taking the time to chat to parents about their child every now and again means a lot to them. Some parents like to feel useful and that they can contribute in certain ways to the session. Can you ask parents to do small jobs for you that may make them feel good about being there: i.e. keep score, sort out bibs, hand out leaflets, etc. Parents really enjoy being asked their opinion about how the sessions are working and can have very good insights as to how to improve the sessions. Casual chats on the side-line or more formal feedback forms can be really useful.

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5.2. Getting parents to work with you
At times we may even feel that some parents are very keen to help in more serious way. Perhaps they already have coaching experience and qualifications or maybe they just feel like they would like to have a go at it. Some of them may have tremendously useful skills they have picked up on their jobs (i.e. teachers, social workers, nurses, etc). Please take the time to speak to those parents that show an interest in becoming a coach, let them know how to go about it and put them in touch with your Coach Manager. You never know where the next inspirational coach is hiding!

Coach’s Challenge: Plan 3 interventions to enhance parental involvement over the next few weeks.
Coaches Notes:

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6. Further Reading

Bradshaw, A., Connolly, P., and Foreman, G. (2010) Fundamentals Activity Cards. Leeds: sports coach UK / Coachwise Limited. • Foreman, G. and Bradshaw, A. (2009) An Introduction to the Fundamentals of Movement. Leeds: sports coach UK / Coachwise Limited. Foreman, G. and Bradshaw, A. (2009) Fundamentals of Balance. Leeds: sports coach Uk / Coachwise Limited. Foreman, G. and Bradshaw, A. (2009) Fundamentals of Coordination. Leeds: sports coach UK / Coachwise Limited. Foreman, G. and Bradshaw, A. (2009) Fundamentals of Agility. Leeds: sports coach Uk / Coachwise Limited. • Fuller, N., Chapman, J., and Jolly, S. (2009)

Positive Behaviour Management in Sport. Leeds: sports coach UK / Coachwise Limited. Gregg, R. and Haughey, TJ. (2004) Skills 4 Sport. Belfast: Sport Northern Ireland. Haskins, D. (2010) Coaching the Whole Child: Positive Development Through Sport. Leeds: sports coach UK / Coachwise Limited. Haskins, D., Jolly, S., and Lara-Bercial, S. (2011) UK Coaching Children Curriculum: A Guide for Governing Bodies of Sport. Leeds: sports coach UK / Coachwise Limited. Kidman, L., and Hanrahan, SJ. (2011) The Coaching Process: A Practical Guide to Becoming An Effective Sports Coach. 3rd Ed. Oxon: Dunmore Press. Stafford, I. (2011) Coaching Children in Sport. Oxon: Routledge.

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Closing Comments
We hope that you have found the information in this handbook of interest to your coaching. You do a very important job working with children in the Activ8 Wildcats Club programmes. It is a very demanding job and to get the most out of the participants you need to integrate and apply lots of knowledge and skills. You may be very familiar with some of the ideas in the handbook and not so much with others. Incorporating them to your coaching toolkit will take time and practice. We can guarantee you however, that it will make a big difference to all the children you will come across and to the level of satisfaction and fulfilment you get from coaching in the Activ8 Wildcats Club programme. The following appendices are designed to help you integrate the different concepts and themes running through the handbook. Happy Coaching! Thank you Sergio & the Activ8 Wildcats Coaches Resource Development Group

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Notes

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Notes

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This document is available in other accessible formats on request, and online at www.sportni.net Published: August 2012 Sport Northern Ireland House of Sport 2a Upper Malone Road Belfast BT9 5LA T: (028) 9038 1222 E: info@sportni.net W: www.sportni.net The leading public body for the development of sport in Northern Ireland

www.activ8ni.net

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