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UKA Coach Building A Better Coaching Environment


Children’s Coach - Mark Hill - On Course Experience

  • Posted: 12.09.2012
  • Author: Amy Ashford (UKA)
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My name is Mark Hill and I am a coaching assistant at Chesterfield & District Athletics Club where I work with the Academy – this is children from the age of 9 to 12/13 year olds.
I got into coaching after taking my daughters to the club; I have chosen to do the Children’s Coaching award as my next step on the coaching pathway. I chose this award not because I am currently working with the children at my club but I see this as an opportunity to help the kids at one of the key stages in their athletic development.  The feedback and results I see are far more rewarding than I ever thought possible.  Maybe I will do the athletics coach at a later date who knows, but for the time being my focus is on working and helping to develop the children.


DAY 1 on the Children’s Coach Course

I am doing the course in Manchester at the EIS an impressive venue in the shadow of the ETIHAD Stadium the home of Manchester City Football Club.  From the start of the course I wanted to know if I was already doing the right things with my athletes and gain new ideas for fun and motivating way to progress them.
One of the most useful things about today was learning about the different ways of gaining feedback and involvement from the children, also using simple games as a warm up.  Keeping things fun even through the ‘boring’ warm ups and ‘cool downs’.
We each took the roles as ‘coach’ and ‘athletes’ and I found that the balancing tasks I set my own athletes at my club were actually more difficult than they looked and I realised that my balance is not any better than that of a 9 year old!!
I also witnessed the importance of different learning styles especially guided discovery/ learning even in adults.
I think I will start to incorporate a few more games into my next session instead of the usual 400m lap I put them through lol and expand on some of the tasks with ideas from the kids themselves.

DAY 2 on the Children’s Coach Course

This morning’s schedule covered jumps and throws - we teamed into groups and designed a session plan incorporating specific units and goals.  We then went outside and took turns in delivering our session to the other groups “Athletes” .  Everyone did well in this task and enjoyed taking part some a little more than other in the sand pit!!!!  We finished this exercise with OBSERVATIONS and ANALYSIS; again all “Athletes” did well in this.
The next session comprised of the Anatomy and Physiology of Children.  I soon realised that my knowledge base in this area was lacking and could be improved.  I personally got a lot from the session for example Growth Rates, Peak Height Velocity as they reach puberty etc.   I realised that one of my main sources of information for this would be the children’s parents and that I needed to have more contact with them even if it was just to ask about their child’s growth rate, gain feedback on the child’s general wellbeing and overall frame of mind.  I felt that this was a good and thought provoking session.
THEN came the endurance session!!!!!
We broke down into our groups to plan an activity to focus on particular skills – it was at this point I realised my knowledge on endurance training/running was very limited and that my own dislike of distance running (anything over 100m’s lol) growing up had subconsciously pushed it down my ‘order ‘of coaching priorities.  In fact when I thought about it training of this type with the children was limited to the occasional Bleep Test over the winter months.  But when we had done this training the kids to my surprise really enjoyed it!!!
We then delivered our training session to each other’s group.  At this point ‘realisation’ hit me I was going to have to do a few laps of the 200m track and my request for a Water and Food station halfway round the course was laughed at (harsh I thought!)  In fact I ended up doing 4 laps 800 meters!!!  I haven’t run that EVER!!!  After all that’s why they invented bicycles and cars LOL.
Anyway on a more serious note I realise that I am going to have to improve in this area in particular as I should not let my own likes and dislikes interfere with my coaching or affect someone else.
I am going to do some research and speak to the running coaches and my supervising/support coach back at our club to get some advice and input on endurance training for kids.
BRING on DAY 3 in October!!

To follow Marks progress through his Childrens Coach learning click here.



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