Going back 20 years, youth sports rules and regulations began to be modified to better suite junior participants. Up until the mid eighties kids in sport were forced to play adult rules using adult size equipment.
Junior kids sports now have a fundamental belief of maximum participation for increased enjoyment. Winning or losing is not important. Learning new sports skills, games skills and social skills are the focus.
Youth sports coaches should be supportive, encouraging instructors and not that stereotype movie character of an old grumpy, highly stung, win at all costs man.
Parents and teachers when asked to take on sports coaching should first educate themselves in the rules and strategies of the game. Clubs and associations will have access to up to date rulebooks and sports coaching manuals
Contact the sports specific governing body from your district or state. They often have beginner coaching resources to give away to new rookie, inexperienced sports coaches.
My advice is to not spend countless hours reading over all the fine print. Remember when reading rules and regulations it's very difficult to visualise the correct meaning of some statements.
Instead invest a few hours on going to watch a local game being played. If the season is just beginning buddy up with another sports coach and have them mentor you.
The Internet search engines like Google and Yahoo are excellent resources. I personally refer to YouTube clips if I am searching for a demonstration on a particular coaching rule, skill or drill.
Club, associations and schools will typically have a junior / youth coaching director, sports master or the like. Tap into the many resources they have available. Ask them to help you with rule interpretations, coaching skills or have them conduct a training session for you.
Sports governing bodies will often have development officers. These people are employed to coach coaches and kids. Contact individual sports associations to inquire if this service is available. This service is often a FREE.
I use the KISS principle (keep it simple stupid). I teach my sports kids the basic rules. Kids are smart and will comprehend and interpret the more advanced rules as they become more experienced in the sport.
A check of sport specific websites or contacting your sports development officer will quickly inform you of the appropriate equipment for the age group you are coaching.
Most clubs and schools will provide you with equipment of the correct size and weight. However never assume, always check for yourself. Kids in sport playing with the incorrect sized equipment are going to disadvantaged come competition time. Practice with the equipment they will use in sports games.
It’s a very good idea at the beginning of the season to check for rule and regulations updates. Individual sports governing bodies amend rules from time to time. This hopefully improves the fun and enjoyment for the sports kids.
The kids sports programs are constantly being improved and modified. Please provide feedback to your sport contacts in regard to the rules and regulations.
Sports governing bodies rely on this feedback both positive and negative to improve the enjoyable experience for children in sports.
The immense personal satisfaction that is derived from coaching kids in sport far out weights the anxiety felt at the start of the pre season training. Understanding all the confusing rules and regulations for rookie, inexperienced coaches or teachers is easily overcome by observing, asking questions and having the confidence to START.
Remember ask for help!
Don’t be shy.
The sports specific resources available have been developed for you in mind.
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