How to volunteer as a coach for a kids’ team

Becoming a volunteer rugby coach for young children can be daunting. Patience, enthusiasm, energy and – of course – an understanding of how the game works are all basic requirements, but what else is required?

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There are three fundamental rules to stick to when working with children:

1. Always be approachable, friendly and enthusiastic.
2. Take a tough but fair stance when it comes to the children who find it more difficult to comply with club rules. The one-two-three approach, whereby they must fall in line by the time you reach three, typically works brilliantly.
3. There are some children who require a completely different approach and need a little more patience and attention.

Anyone can volunteer as a rugby coach, provided you consent to a DRB (Disclosure and Barring Service) check. Formally the CRB (Criminal Records Bureau), the DRB is a background check. Depending upon its nature, having a record does not necessarily prevent you becoming a volunteer coach.

What if you have no experience?

Experience as a coach is also not a necessity. There are many online resources available; for example, you could use a rugby drill video from a site such as https://www.sportplan.net/drills/Rugby/.

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No child is the same and you will find it a challenge to work with each and every one. Some you will warm to slightly more than others; however, whether they realise it or not, all will appreciate the time you spend with them, teaching them a skill and helping them to enhance their social and physical wellbeing. Working with children is a wholly worthwhile pursuit and doing so as a volunteer can be even more rewarding.

Top tips

Keep control and do not allow the children to intimidate you. This is not an easy task, but think about ways to make following the rules fun before your first session. Whether this is blowing a whistle every time you need them to stop or encouraging them to do star jumps when you say the magic word, it needs to be fun and easy for them to achieve. The objective here is not only to have an amazing time, but also to keep them safe. If you need to give them instructions quickly to prevent an accident, they need to do what they are told immediately.

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