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Managing Bad Behaviour in the Younger ages.

Whilst on a recent journey down to Bournemouth, I was having a good conversation with a very good friend and coach about best practices for managing poor behaviour.

we discussed in depth the possible causes of poor behaviour and whether it could be down to himself and his session plan? what did his session look like? were there too many cues? what was ball rolling time? were the players engaged and have a clear understanding of actually what is required? was it a new training environment? are the Players overtired from school? are they hungry? did they get told off for not tidying away their toys? the list goes on for possible reasons that little minds wander and can become disruptive during your sessions.

But the focus is not to get too caught up in constantly asking why are they acting this way but to recognize early signs and steer them back onto the right path. so instead of sending them to Naughty Square or time out zone or even back to their Guardians try some of these.

Repeating Positive Praise.

Most younger children are looking for Attention and can quickly spiral into acting out to receive it, all be it negative attention but to them, it's still a form of interaction they desperately crave.

We have all been there when you call the group in, and 1 or 2 of your players can't help but continue to smash footballs at the goal, we hold the group up calling their names over and over again till they finally come over.

The next time you stop for an intervention half the group has taken it upon themselves to start misbehaving as they crave their names to be called out.

Flip the reverse switch, and start thanking the players for being the quickest to you.

and be consistent with this Method in everything you do. consistency in your coaching behaviors is Key to building the culture of how your team is going to progress. so stay consistent and soon you will see your young Superstars racing to be the first ones at your side.

Ignore the bad behaviour as long as it is not dangerous and focus on the positives in the group. Your Players will start to recognize the cues and the Praise being given out to others for doing the right things and will start to copy the behaviours of others.

Adapting The Session To Incorporate Their Current Interest.

You have your session all planned out, you've arrived super early to get all the cones set up and your buzzing to go. your players arrive and all they are interested in is doing handstands or shooting the ball into the basketball hoop or can't take their eyes off the planes in the sky.

Try to instinctively adapt your session on the spot to incorporate their new found interests. you may be doing an attacking session, so why not tell the players if you have a shot then you can have a go at shooting the ball into the basketball net after.

or every time you are speaking to your group of players they have to attempt handstands.

I remember a session down by the river during a boat Festival in Bristol. 7-year-old children were far more excited about the boats passing by than the ball mastery session I had planned. so I adapted my session to dribbling and skills whilst chasing the boats passing by.

you will see a hugely positive reaction from them Bonus enthusiasm especially if you thank them for coming up with the idea.

Be Adaptable.

Physical Presence.

Every Group of Players has the ones that can't sit still, or just can't help but tell everyone, every single minute of their day from the moment they arrive to the moment they leave, and although it has massive comical benefits and is brilliant for their social development and I believe you must incorporate some chat time into a session as some of your players haven't seen each other in a week or so. it can quickly lead to the group all opening up and you've spent 30 minutes of your usual 1hr session discussing everything from nerf guns to who playing a slug in the Christmas nativity play.

Physical presence utilized at the right time by standing directly next to the talkers whilst Communicating to the group can make a massive difference in not only stopping the disruption of the group but also how much quicker you can get your Coaching points across and them back onto the session you have planned out.

Final Thoughts.

I Hope these Practices help and can be incorporated into your future sessions to Help guide your players back onto the track when challenging behaviour Crops up. There are also Tons of other resources which can help, from videos on YouTube, Teaching behaviour Books #ad to maybe even speaking with Teachers in school about their best Practices.

And If you have any Successful techniques you've picked up along the way yourself let me know.

If you found any of this information helpful and would like to thank me you can always buy me a coffee.

Many Thanks

Tom - Grassroots Dad.


Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I'm a Dad of 2 Young Superstars Participating in Grassroots Sports, A Qualified Coach with almost 10 years worth of Experience working along Side Grassroot Clubs, Development Centres and Professional Academies.

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