"Educate the educators"
I recommend you read this editorial by Mark O’Sullivan in The Irish Times about the role the youth coach plays in developing both the person and the player.
The club has a part to play in the child’s broader education; the values, attitudes and behaviour that are cultivated through sport can be positive influences over the course of an entire life-time and if they like playing the game then that should be encouraged too. But it is vital to get the balance right and with this in mind we need to pay more attention to educating the educators.
The role of the youth coach is a more challenging concept than ever. They play a key role in developing and motivating the children they come into contact with. But there is an ever increasing obsession with identifying talent at an ever earlier stage, with many of the changes to children’s sport, however they might be presented in public, tied into these goals.
I’ve written about the tendency to try and identify the future professionals at too young an age and the need to let kids play more in our training sessions. I will continue to link to those who are offering compelling evidence and editorials on the topic.
Develop the person, develop the player.