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Scrolling through my local villages news letter I noticed an advert asking for a coach to help out at a local football club coaching players from age 5 to 8 years, I thought I would respond to the advert and offer my assistance with the club. Within 24 hrs I was contacted by the chairman who was also coaching the players, I advised him that I wasn't a qualified football coach however I had worked throughout schools coaching multi sports and had other qualifications that maybe I could use to help with coaching the young athletes. He was happy with this I advised I would come and watch one of his sessions to see what the coaching session was all about. On arrival I noticed parents where stood about, coach on his own with 27 children taking part in a warm up game. I introduced myself to the coach who was very stress looking, I noticed some children messing about I even noticed a much older child taking time out to wee in the middle of the football pitch which I pointed out due to younger players being around and the older player not a good role model for the younger player, at this point I felt so sorry for the coach my heart went out to him he was so under pressure I could see he needed help. I advised him to call all the players in so he could introduce me to the players and to split players up, I offered to take a few players to help him out. The session went well and went quickly, at the end of the training session we took some time to talk to find out what he wanted and how I could help with the sessions. The conversation was very similar to the one I had a few years ago the issues being.
Like most of you on here I could definitely relate to the above situation's. I advised him to take a look on line at a website called Connected coaches where there is so much help and advice for coaches from all different sporting backgrounds that can help you and advise you with any issues that might rise.
I have since offered to help the football club out on a Wednesday evenings knowing that I'm able to help and make a difference to take stress off the coach by coaching the younger players.
Good to see that lack of volunteers and poor parental attitudes and behaviours are not confined to Ireland.
Have we demanded enough of parents?
have we asked them to help?
how do we get them to volunteer? Questions used?
theory would suggest that a parents meeting before the season starts is the way foreword. Coaches are reluctant and lack assertiveness in defining the boundaries of behaviour.
In relation to parents who over step the mark, talk, advice and if needs be get rid of them. Best that the club loses one player rather than a good coach.
Personally, give me a person with the right attitudes and behaviours anyday. The content and expertise will come. Character and culture first.
The babysitting thing is something that infuriates me. Personally my rule has always been that if the athlete isn't willing to attend regular training sessions (and engage with them!) and compete then I won't coach them - I understand that not everyone is comfortable with that approach, but my view is that I'm not going to dedicate time and effort into an athlete's progress if they aren't committed to that progress too.
In clubs where that approach is not an option, I wonder if a 2 tier membership fee structure is appropriate. One price for those who are either willing to volunteer themselves, or have their parents do so; and a higher fee for those that don't, which could fund other coaches.
99% of my coaching is voluntary, but I do wonder how long sports can continue to rely on that model. I think some degree of professionalisation will eventually become essential.
Your story also makes me think about the numbers of players/athletes that coaches take on. It's done with the best of intentions, as people don't want to turn anyone away and be a blocker from their participation in the sport, but taking on too many athletes/players just means none of them get anything out of it. It ceases to be coaching and just becomes herding/crowd control. I think it's far better to have a dozen athletes getting good quality coaching than have 30 athletes getting very little out of a session.
Thanks Andy for your feed back, I do agree with your comments. I have said this before that most coaches work in the voluntary sector and do so for the love of the sport they are coaching, I do feel that some clubs do put on the coaches very much having been in this position myself a few years ago having nearly 50 athletes turning up for training session and only having 2 coaches available, this on its own has its downfalls like you say your unable to give athletes the attention they fully deserve and parents paying for the training session can see this isn't happening especially when athletes are wanting to compete and yes there's those who parents bring children and use it a a baby sitting service to which I don't agree as some children that don't want to be there this can make sessions very difficult for athletes that do want to be there.
I have worked with Basketball player that have come from America for a few months and have stated that they can't believe that sports coaches don't get paid for the work they do. When I first volunteered for the football club last week I was asked would I be coaching voluntary or would I want payment, at that point I was unable to answer as I wasn't expecting the question. I did state to the coach that I had offered my services free of charge, He smiled and stated that until I responded he was going to place an advert as he though if the coaches rolls was a paid roll he would get more interest again I was shocked. Like yourself I'm a voluntary coach and would feel awful if i was to take money from any clubs where all coaches coach voluntary. My partner keeps telling me it's because I'm not a money minded person.
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