An evaluation of games-centred coaching for children
Posted by Dean Holden at September 18th, 2013
by John McIlroy, 1 August 2013
The Australian Sport Commission recently published research into their Playing for Life (P4L) philosophy to test and validate the effectiveness and appropriateness of the philosophy for children aged five to 12 years. You can read about the research by clicking HERE but below I have pulled out the key results for anyone interested in coaching.
- Coaching skill and the ability to engage children is critical to the successful delivery of the P4L philosophy. Although children and coaches highlighted the game-centred philosophy of the programme they also felt there was a place for specific skill development and drill work. There was a strong link between athletic competence, motivation and increased physical activity.
- Liking the coach was the second most important aspect for children attending programmes. Liking the games was first.
- There was strong evidence that the coach working as a facilitator was the most effective in this context. They set challenges and the players find solutions through activity. For example, ‘Where will you stand to field the ball?’ ‘How can you work together to stop the opponents scoring?’ ‘How can you include everyone?’
- There was evidence that the ‘demonstrate and do’ style of coaching in this environment may not build a child’s confidence.
Perhaps the most interesting point to emerge from this is that it again shows how important quality coaching is to delivering programmes to participants. This report around coaching children is saying similar things to an evaluation of the Active Women project I wrote about last year were quality coaching was described as ‘all important’ in successful project delivery.