Hi, I’m Keith Place, a qualified rugby union coach and all round sports enthusiast. I have got a lot out of being a coach but particularly rewarding is when you see young people of all abilities getting involved in games and sports and seeing how much fun they can have. When you have coached young people from 7 through to 17 years old and they are still actively participating in sport of all kinds then you can rank that as the ultimate success. My son gave up rugby union at around 13 years old but continued to play cricket for a local club and football in the park with his mates. This year at 17 he started playing rugby again… the seeds were sown and he has realised that sport can play a part in his life on his terms.

Introduction to coaching.

If you are a sports coach, you are no stranger to planning activities for young people that keeps them actively engaged and enjoying their activity. However there are many people whether employed to do so, say through schools, or who are acting as volunteers, that might need some more guidance on how to run sports activities in a safe and engaging way.

It is paramount that coaches establish an enjoyable environment for all players in their care. This will be beneficial in the short term by encouraging young people to actively participate in your sessions and in the longer term by encouraging participants to continue with sports and games into the future.

Stick to the APES principle below and you can’t go far wrong;

ACTIVITY – all players involved at all times

PURPOSE – ensure there is a clear objective

ENJOYMENT – make the session varied and fun

SAFE – activities and play areas must be appropriate

The role of the coach:

Sports coaching, rather like all forms of teaching, is a rewarding and challenging way to spend your time. As a coach you will have to adopt a range of roles such as:

Leader, organiser, manager, counsellor, motivator, decision maker, role model, etc etc

Good coaching requires you to be able to:

Continually improve all players

Get the best out of all the players

Develop techniques into skills

Develop the players ‘game sense’ i.e. their ability to assess what’s happening around them and make appropriate decisions

A quick checklist of good positive steps to take.


Make sure the area is clean and safe before you start.


Set some simple rules of engagement and state them clearly at the outset


Gain players attention before giving information or instruction


Get them doing something simple straight away – use it as the warm up


Make sure you have all equipment to hand at the outset


Check that the participants are appropriately dressed for the activity and the conditions


Understand what you will do if a player is injured, ie stop the activity etc


Maximise the involvement of all players. Some sports/games have higher required skill levels than others.


Choose appropriate activities for the ages and abilities of the players


Maintain players good behaviour throughout the session


Provide Variety and Challenge during the activity


Provide demonstrations to facilitate learning


Encourage players to play within the spirit of the game


Conclude the session positively and appropriately

1. Make sure the area is clean and safe before you start.

Remove rubbish, clean up after dogs, remove loose bits of paving and or other potential trip hazards etc. Then check all equipment for damage, loose fittings and any other potential hazards. Check that the surface on which you about to play is suitable for the activity you have chosen, it is particularly important to recognise hard ground in extremes of drought or cold. This is just common sense and takes a few minutes at most but is often a neglected part of ensuring the area is safe to start off with.

2. Set up some simple rules of engagement. 먹튀폴리스

For example, before rugby training I had a specific ‘no kicking’ policy. All the lads loved to run out on the pitch, grab a ball and just kick the hell out of it. “No real damage done” you might say. However, most lads couldn’t kick properly (we hadn’t coached this bit), balls flew everywhere, there had been no warm up, and it took a few minutes of valuable time to get the balls back and for everyone to be ready for the session.

So, by rules of engagement, I mean just simple straightforward clear messages as to what you want them to do when they reach the games area. This might be; “walk to the games area, get one ball between three players and pass it to each other along the ground until I blow the whistle for you all to gather round ready to begin”.

3. Gain players attention before giving information or instruction

The younger the participant, the more important this is. Attention will wander, as I am sure teachers will know only too well. So keep this short and simple. In your plan (we’ll talk about this in a little while) have a simple, fun and inclusive session to start with. Keep it very simple and get the session going quickly. Use an individual or group to demonstrate what needs doing and make sure the groups are all listening. Check understanding and then let them get on with it. If you are outside, stand facing the sun, don’t make the children squint into the light, it will distract them.


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