Running Youth Sessions

Coaching sessions for youths/juniors can be some of the most challenging but also rewarding a coach may ever take, this section aims to provide coaches both new and old with some guidandce on delivering these sessions along with some ‘Top Tips’ from the more experienced youth/junior coaches in the country.

Planning for Sessions

“Spend time creating a good clear session plan, but be ready to make changes as each session unfolds.” (Stewart Bailey – Ayrodynamic Triathlon Club)

“Don’t be afraid of the weather – kids are waterproof.  There’s a good chance that at least one of their races will be cold & wet!” (Graham Farr – West Lothian Triathlon Club)

“Can never do enough technique as it takes a while to sink in.” (Roy Mitchel – Edinburgh #3 Triathlon)

“It is important to engage parents, with good communication parents will be clear on why sessions work as they do and will trust that you have their children’s best interests at heart.” (Billy Mitchell – Stirling Triathlon Club)

The Training Enviroment

“Creating the right culture is key! An environment where effort is rewarded and new athletes can quickly understand the ethos of the group is hugely powerful.” (Billy Mitchell – Stirling Triathlon Club)

Aim to be the coach you would have wanted when you were a kid.” (Stewart Bailey – Ayrodynamic Triathlon Club)

“Keep timing of reps in a session short if possible to retain interest.” (Roy Mitchel – Edinburgh #3 Triathlon)

“Everything the coaches do influences the attitude of the group.” (Billy Mitchell – Stirling Triathlon Club)

“Keep kids moving!  If kids are standing around between sets they are likely to start chatting and lose interest.” (Graham Farr – West Lothian Triathlon Club)

“Complexity creates chaos and confusion, just keep it simples.” (Stewart Bailey – Ayrodynamic Triathlon Club)

“Ask questions to check they have understood you – don’t always choose answers from the kids with their hands up.  Ask the ones who are a bit more shy and encourage them to have their say.” (Graham Farr – West Lothian Triathlon Club)

“Use humour – if kids are laughing it means they are enjoying themselves.” (Graham Farr – West Lothian Triathlon Club)

Types of Activities

“Kids LOVE relay races.  A well handicapped relay race can provide motivation & a feeling of success for all kids, no matter what level they are at.  Swap team-members about after each race to avoid one team dominating.” (Graham Farr – West Lothian Triathlon Club)

“Kids love anything to do with relays.” (Roy Mitchel – Edinburgh #3 Triathlon)

“Technique incorporated into competitive drills can work well (eg how many reps of X can you do over a set distance etc).” (Roy Mitchel – Edinburgh #3 Triathlon)

“Ensure positive feedback is regularly given to every athlete, no matter what level they are this builds confidence.” (Billy Mitchell – Stirling Triathlon Club)

Check out loads of games and session ideas here.

More Info

For much more information head to the Sports Coach UK coaching children resource bank. Or take a look at these selected articles:

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