How to support juniors and grow the next generation of members.
To ensure sport is attractive to young people, clubs and
organisations must fully understand why young people participate in, and
drop out of sport.
This resource provides some simple guidelines for making sport more
youth-friendly, as well as showcasing initiatives that have successfully
addressed youth participation.
In 2013 the Australian Sports Commission released a report Children: Market Segmentation for Sport Participation.
The market segmentation study provided key insights outlining how the
sport sector can influence motivations and behaviours that children
have towards sport and physical activity.
The overall aim of coaches is to help young people build a love of participating in sport for life-long involvement.
This guideline deals with the coach as an instructor. Other aspects
of coaching are dealt with in other guidelines, particularly Top 20 Tips
for successful coaching and People making it happen.
Educating participants about sport is an important role of junior sport coaches who need to be able to:
An important part of this is potential and existing coaches accessing
coaching accreditation. Clubs play an important role in this.
Coach accreditation has been developed across many sports throughout
Australia. The National Coaching Accreditation Scheme (NCAS) coordinated
by the ASC is the vehicle available to sports for this accreditation.
Many sports have been part of the scheme and have developed various
levels of accreditation catering for the needs of coaches from the
beginning to the advanced coach.
Clubs should contact their State Sporting Association regarding
accessing education and training for their coaches including the
National Coaching Accreditation Scheme. Coaches need to understand the
developmental stages in how young people learn and how skills are
Learning is an active process linked to the development of young people.
Strategies for helping young people learn include letting them:
How young people like to learn differs with the particular skill, their experience and the way they learn best.
Learning changes as young people grow and mature with:
With experience, young people adapt to changing circumstances with
greater speed and ease. Key characteristics of more experienced players
are the ability to:
People typically learn more than one thing at a time. In the process of building sport skills, young people are also learning:
This highlights the complexity of gaining skills and how the broader
social aspects of life also affect young people as they learn sports.
Coaches aim to pass on to young people a sound understanding of the:
The aim of this is to help them build an ability to make decisions
independently and participate within the ethos of the sport. Coaches
need to be aware of the club/sports expectations in terms of their
behaviour and their players behaviour. Clubs have different philosophies
regarding what their members experience when participating in club
activities. Coaches need to contribute to the development of these
standards and abide by them.
Coaches aid learning outcomes best by being flexible and not overly directive. They need to plan:
In planning both individual sessions and seasonal programs, coaches need to consider:
Planning should also consider each participant’s:
Coaches have a major influence on the holistic development of young people in sport by educating them in:
It is important to remember that this learning experience will affect
their willingness to remain in the sport and potentially their lifelong
participation in sport.
Planning and instruction are based on the level of the learners, how
they prefer to learn and seeing that every junior in the group is being
It is ideal to let young people experience as many different roles as possible (players, coaches, scorers) under supervision.
This might encourage some young people to take on these jobs as
adults later in life. (see other guidelines, particularly Booklet 28 and
23 of this series: Top 20 Tips for successful coaching and People
making it happen).
Coaches should also:
Above all, young people should feel they are achieving their goals and having fun.
Coaches also build young people’s social skills such as getting along
with team members and managing the cooperative and competitive
requirements of sport.
Coaches help young people develop desirable sports behaviours by:
Coaches, by their treatment of participants, affect such personal
characteristics as self-esteem and perceived competence. This can
indirectly affect young people’s sporting ability by building their
Coaches learn to coach in two main ways:
Coach education is generally structured around:
It is best for coaches to be taught how to learn as well as what to
learn. This is done by providing cooperative learning opportunities for
new recruits rather than just a transfer of knowledge.
An ideal strategy is to use real coaching situations to create opportunities to share information i.e. mentoring.
Accreditation recognises formal education and its assessment. The
National Coaching Accreditation Scheme (NCAS) provides a framework of
quality control guidelines for sports.
As part of gaining accreditation, coaches are made aware of the
coaches’ Code of Ethics, which addresses good coaching behaviours
It is important to also undertake training that will develop the
people management skills of the coach. Courses like working with young
people, communicating with parents etc.
Learning as they coach is the more common way coaches develop coaching skills and knowledge.
Self-reflection is an important tool coaches use to learn. This involves:
With experience, coaches rely less on outside sources and more on solving problems independently.
Educators need to nurture the self-directed learning skills coaches gain when coaching.
Effective coaches, like effective educators in any area, are
life-long learners committed to personal growth. Their development must,
and does, extend far beyond any formal training program.
Quality coaching is an essential element for a positive experience for young people.
When coaches plan and provide sessions based on a good understanding
of how young people learn and how skills are best developed, young
people have the best chance of:
Above all, it is important that young people learn that sport is fun and safe.
This information is part of a series covering the nine guidelines
outlined in the Junior Sport Framework (JSF) as developed by Sport
The information in this booklet has been reproduced with the permission of Sport Australia.
The guidelines cover topics to address the needs of young people in sport and include:
These booklets outline the main points of the guidelines to assist in
the delivery of best practice in junior sport and to encourage young
people to make a life-long commitment to sport.
A complete copy of the JSF is available on the Sport Australia website.
Do not submit enquiries with this form.