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Posted in: Coaching Top Tips

Mentoring a younger you: What advice would you give yourself about navigating your coaching journey?

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  • robertkmaaye

    Reflection is something I’ve brought up before in previous threads but I thought I would come at it from another angle this time.
    I'd be interested to know if you sat down to write a letter to your younger self, what advice would you give about navigating through the ups and downs, the successes and the failures, of your coaching journey?

    Simon Browning has also touched on this in a conversation he started well over a year ago now but as we’ve had thousands more members join since then I thought I would revisit.

    As always look forward to reading your replies

  • _NT_

    Don't think young people are 'small adults'. Equipment and sessions may not work for them that work with adults  (and vice versa).

    Don't think your initial training will give you a complete toolbox, observe experienced coaches pinch their 'best bits'.

    Don't forget the basics: intrinsic motivation and external motivations for participants in your sessions.

    Try coaching different sports and transfer skills across.

    I coach: climbing, kayaking, canoeing and mountain biking. All non competitive !

    Twitter @grangemouthOL

  • Wendyrussell

    Dear future coaching self,

    I am sure your thinking wow! What do I do now? Fresh faced and full of ideas, however apprehensive and worried about what is next.

    Don't worry, here are some top things I have learnt on the way:-

    Make mistake- its is ok and don't be afraid of them! Just remember they are great learning opportunities! 

    Don't think people are judging you, they are learning just as you are.

    After initially passing your training and then being thrown out to the big world of coaching! There is support out there and people are always willing to help you develop.

    Don't forget to be crazy and think outside the box, what's the worse that could happen? You never know you might find something new, either about yourself as a coach, the players or even for the sport! 

    Learn from other sports! Watch other coaches from all kinds of sports, it's amazing what you can pick up and learn. 

    More importantly- You will love it even more than when you first started! So have fun!

    Best Wishes

    A little wiser version of myself! 

  • robertkmaaye
    On 21/11/17 10:20 PM, Wendy Russell said:

    A little wiser version of myself! 

    Love this Wendy!

  • 1. Take interest in the person ... and not just the sportsperson they are when training. It will strengthen your rapport. 

    2. Although there is the perfect technique, realise that everyone will have their individual ways of achieving an element of your sport ... everyone is built differently after all!

    3. Enjoy the journey to a persons achievements ... it may be long, it may be a winding road, but the lesson learned along the way will help you and them immensely.

    4. Appreciate everyone will have a different motivation for participating in the sport ... not everyone wants to compete, not everyone wants to take tests ... find their goals and work to them.

    5. Listen as well as instruct ... it helps. 

    6. Be positive ... even when frustrated, remain positive.

    7. Equip yourself with odd coloured gloves , stickers and patience... it's surprising how many people, young and small don't know their left and rights (vital in my sport!!).

    8. Be positive with yourself ... Keep telling yourself that you love that 5am alarm at weekends ... and the cold. You love being in a giant freezer :)

    9. Keep learning ... read, attend courses and talk to other coaches across other sports.

    10. It can be a hard, frustrating job at times, but its worth it!

  • robertkmaaye
    On 22/11/17 10:42 PM, Dannielle Starkie said:

    Keep telling yourself that you love that 5am alarm at weekends ... and the cold. You love being in a giant freezer :)

    Some great messages to your past self Dannielle....this one did make me chuckle hahaha !

  • Clenchiecoach

    I found this such an interesting topic and inspired by the question and the interesting replies, it's turned into my brand new blog!

  • robertkmaaye
    On 27/11/17 2:11 PM, Rich Bland said:

    it's turned into my brand new blog!

    Absolutely love the blog Rich!!! Link here for all to enjoy Note to Self - What I could never have known

  • pippaglen


    • Be yourself
    • Don't try and mimic another coaches
    • Ask for advice when required
    • Don't be too hard on yourself
    • Have fun
    • Don't be pressured into things 
    • Always be prepared. 
    • Must be fully committed to CPD

    The first few years of coaching I found very difficult, I don't think when you first pass your level 2 that you are actually prepared for coaching. I suppose its a bit like driving, the instructor teaches you how to pass your test but they certainly don't prepare you for the rest of your driving years.  I think it takes years to find your own coaching path and style . For me the above I have mimicked other coaches, I didn't ask for advice, I was always hard on myself and still am, I forgot what fun was like due to mimicking other coaches, I wasn't always prepared and I put myself under a lot of pressure trying to do more than 1 roll. I wasn't prepared for how much CPD that is actually involved in coaching.  I have since learned years down the line to pass the book when needed, to have fun, be prepared more, to be myself and not to let others take advantage of you.  buy lots of pens and jotters for notes. 

  • robertkmaaye

    Some great "notes to self Emma"...thanks for sharing!

    On 28/11/17 12:10 PM, Emma Tomlinson said:

    I was always hard on myself and still am,

    Aren't you just! Many would say waaaay too hard...I guess that happens when you care so much though! laughing

  • pippaglen

    Thanks Rob laughing

  • BillB

    I think for me it would be to have more self belief, at times there is no right and wrong way, you have to have the belief in your gut feelings, make the mistakes without fear.

    Also, I would have spent more time observing experienced coaches in handball and other team sports. It is important to research current trends not just follow them.

    Lastly having a couple of good mentors would be something I would look for to ensure that I have a good bespoke development and create my philosophy.

    "Do the ordinary things better"

  • andrewb62

    Advice to a younger me:

    1. get a qualification, then go and coach - different groups, different ages, different skills, different environments
    2. try things; win some, lose some; try new things; win some, lose some; repeat
    3. work out what you enjoy, not (necessarily) what you are good at
    4. find out how to be better at what you enjoy

    and repeat

    not sure I would have listened…

  • KayakKeith

    It would vary depending on the activity I am coaching. So here goes with my favourite sport.

    In whitewater kayaking:

    - Take time to keep your skill level up. In this sport the ability to demonstrate what you want people to learn to a high standard is important.

    - remember you are coaching the person not the activity.

    - play is important 

    - ask people what they want to achieve and manage expectations for  each session. 

    - specific to this sport... Make easy water hard rather than pushing on before the basics are secure. 

    - take time to watch and evaluate before giving coaching input.

    - remember it’s meant to be fun!


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