You may have times when children get over excited or misbehave this may be part of “testing the boundaries”; finding out what is acceptable and what is not. Sometimes the reason children are over excited is because of the behaviour of the coach! When we act over animated and a little crazy, this can send a message to children that they can also behave in a silly way, and whilst you know when this is ok and when it isn’t, children do not understand this difference.
Children could misbehave because of lack of attention, feedback or instruction from their coaches, peers or parents.
They may have lost focus because the task:
- is too easy
- is too difficult
- has gone on for too long
- lacks purpose
- is not understood
- has long wait times because of the organisational structure
Other reasons could include:
- lack of knowledge of acceptable behaviour
- overexcited because of coach’s behaviour
- lack of communication by coach in a way the children understand
- coach’s refusal to listen when children want to share, thoughts, feelings – too dictatorial
You should have a strategy for dealing with players that everyone understands and that is set from the very first session. That includes players, coaches, parents and assistants. Knowing the boundaries for acceptable behaviour is essential to providing a safe and fair environment for children. Systems used by experienced coaches include:
- yellow card, red card – used as in soccer
- timeouts – if a child misbehaves they have to wait out but only for a short period
- three strikes system – first strike is a warning, second strike take a time out, and third strike leave the session
You should understand that using these systems does not mean that you want players to sit out or not to take part, but it will usually prevent these situations from occurring, as children know the rules. As a coach you should ensure that you are consistent in your own behaviour. This includes doing what you said you would do, being impartial, remaining confident and calm and setting the right climate for the lesson.