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Tip 10 - Right coach and club fit

Finding the right coach and club for your child

The club and coach are a major part of the environment and experience for any participant in sport. It is important to find the right match to effectively support your child’s skill development and sporting goals. Understanding and aligning you and your child’s motivation, philosophies and skills with the right coach and club environment will provide a great platform for ongoing participation, performance and enjoyment. Findings from the Australian Sports Commission’s Market Segmentation research linked below provide some excellent insights.

Market segmentation for sport participation

A paper titled ‘A look through the rear view mirror: Developmental Experiences and Insights of High Performance Athletes’ (Gulbin et al. 2010) documents the insights of 673 high performance Australian athletes across 34 sports and highlights the importance of a good athlete-coach match. The paper recognised several key characteristics of a good coach, including sport-related factors and also key inter and intra-personal attributes.

Pin icon TIP: Characteristics of a great coach and club

Do your research when looking for the right coach and club match for your child.

Characteristics of good developmental clubs include:

  • quality coaching personnel that are experienced in coaching developing athletes and are appropriately accredited
  • the provision of appropriate developmental opportunities and progression
  • positive, supportive, encouraging and welcoming club culture for you and your children
  • effective communication and engagement strategies to support children and their parents
  • approachable mentors
  • quality training facilities which are nearby and accessible
  • close connection with local schools and their respective state and national organisations.

Characteristics of a good coach include:

  • strong and effective communication
  • encouraging, good motivator
  • strong teaching ability
  • confident and relaxed style
  • take a personal interest and show a duty of care to the welfare of their athletes
  • stress a balance between life and sport
  • a detailed knowledge of the sport
  • are aware and considerate of the impact of biological and psychological maturation on skill development and performance. There is a suitable fit of the program to the child’s maturity. A good coach understands that optimal development is individualised, considerate of psychological and sport-specific skills as well as physical attributes, and takes time, diligence and patience. They provide support and opportunity to ‘late-maturing’ and ‘early-maturing’ athletes through a focus on sport-specific and psychological skill development rather than pure physicality.  

As a parent you can assist your child’s coach by supporting their approach and philosophy and showing them respect. If you have any concerns regarding your child, other than an immediate safety concern, approach them when they are not coaching or instructing.

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Did you know?

Gold Coast 2018 is the 5th Commonwealth Games to be hosted by Australia.

Quick numbers

11.6 million Australian adults participate in sport or physical activity three or more times per week.
3.2 million Australian children participate in organised sport or physical activity outside of school.
$10 billion is spent annually by Australians on fees for participation in sport or physical activity.
17 million Australian adults participate in a sport or physical activity every year.
650 thousand Australians either coach, teach or instruct sport.