NZ Coach links: July 2018

10 July 2018

The NZ Coach newsletter for July 2018


Let play commence 

When I was in primary school the best time – without question – was ‘play’ time. It was that time when you were released from the clutches of the classroom and left to do what you liked (not always within reason!) on the fields, the jungle gym, or the asphalt court. This was ‘free’ time, often out of sight (and probably out of mind) of teachers and other adults. It was an opportunity to explore your surroundings and interact with other kids without the boundaries imposed upon us during the rest of the school day. In addition, in and out of school we ‘played’ sport, as opposed to ‘working at’ sport.

In recent times, there has been plenty written about how the concept of ‘play’ has been lost in youth sport. And you don’t need to dig very deeply to discover a treasure trove of stories around the erosion of play time, recess time, unstructured time, and PE time across a range of young people’s settings. At Sport NZ, Scott McKenzie is the play ‘guru’ – a very good man, even if he is a Bulldogs fan, who knows far more than I do about play and its critical importance in childhood development (see Recognising New Zealand Children’s Right to Play). However, I will go out on a limb (don’t get me started on the benefits of kids climbing trees!) and say that coaches are in a great position to help reverse the ‘less play’ trend by embedding the concept of authentic ‘play’ into their coaching practice, even with adults. How can coaches do this? Simple. ‘Let go’ of the reins more often (did anyone else ride an invisible horse as a kid?) so participants can self-organise, self-manage, and explore for themselves ways to move, communicate, use equipment, design games, and make up rules. Or to put it another way, try organising less (less lines, less laps), talking less (no lectures), and watching more. Focusing more on play will let the little and big kids you coach be more creative, do more problem-solving with others, self-determine effort and focus, and keep building adaptability into the skills they want and need (think skateboarders at the local skate bowl). This doesn’t make the ‘coach’ redundant – not at all – but it does invite a few questions, including, where does the real value of a coach lie? As someone once said, comedy is a serious business…with seriously good consequences. On that note…

Kids Sports 'Jokes of the Month':

  1. Why is it so windy inside a full sports stadium? All those fans!
  2. What race is never run? A swimming race!
  3. What animal is best at cricket? A bat!  

Ngā mihi​
Brett Reid, Community Coaching Consultant

The secret power of play

Nothing is as natural as a child at play. After a month of little more than eating and sleeping, infants begin to engage in play with their parents and the world around them. ​
Read the article

How do we solve club cricket’s teenage drop-off?

Why do so many young cricketers become disconnected with the game and how can we improve the junior-to-senior conversion rate?
Read the article

After 10 Years of coaching here’s what I think I Know

It’s been 10 years since I first fell in love with coaching – when I stumbled upon a group of 7-year-olds whose coach had not turned up.
Read the article

The fun of coaching sports …

Part of belonging to this group of freaks called coaches, is that we sometimes trade notes. 
Read the article

Can we shift the paradigm in youth sports?

I was recently in Ohio for a family event.
Read the article

Learning how to learn

[Podcast - FarnhamStreet​]
Listen to the podcast

How do coaches learn?

[Video - WG Coaching]
Watch the video

Thinking about thinking: tiny changes, big results

How is it we become better at thinking? How is it we learn to make better decisions? And if we can’t make better decisions how is it we learn to avoid stupidity?
Read the article

Pressure of staying at the top

For many years, athletes dedicate themselves to the path of elitism within their respective sports. 
Read the article

Talent Development

Each issue we’ll review some of our most recent ‘balance is better’ Facebook posts. These are stories that bring to life the philosophies set out in Sport NZ’s Talent Plan.

​This month you can check out:

  • The story of White Ferns rising star Amelia Kerr
  • Rosa Flanagan’s message on the importance of putting your own health and wellbeing above athletic performance

Messaging for community coaches is a key focus of our Facebook page. Don't forget to follow us on Facebook to get updated.