Το choose a club or a coach?
Children’s exercise, in any form, helps their development in the best way, either physically or psychologically and spiritually. It contributes to their physical health, ensures to a certain extent their energy/activity, cultivates elements of their later personality, educates and socializes the young “athletes”, creates the foundations for their mental balance and provides stimuli for the mental alertness-cultivation of child athletes.
Sports, which is an organized form of exercise in any sport, has the framework for obtaining the above benefits. The parents’ decision to introduce their child to sports creates questions and searches regarding which sport and club they will “choose” for their child and with what criteria.
Research shows that the main criteria for choosing a club by parents are the distance from their home, the time of training, the cost of the monthly subscription and the “image” they have formed from their information about the respective sports club .
On the other hand, the needs of child-athletes for play, coexistence with friends, fun, smooth and gradual entry into the sports environment appear as additional elements that need to be taken into account for the choice of sport and club.
Responding to what the research supports that the sports environment can offer and to the children’s wishes at the same time, it seems necessary to “control” the training environment of the club, with all that this implies, by the parents.
A key factor in the choice is the coach with whom the child will work, with what goals and objectives, in what form of behavior, in what way of communication. The coach is able to determine to a very large extent whether the child will stay in sports or not, whether he will have fun or be pressured, whether he will form healthy behaviors or internalize views and attitudes inhibiting his further psycho-spiritual development.
Parents, in the first stages of introducing children to sports, are asked to look for coaches who will offer the emotional support the children need, the corresponding behavior to experience pleasant emotions, “ensuring” to a certain extent the development of motivation and the stay of the children in the sports environment. They will look for coaches with a mild and positive attitude, having a willingness to communicate and above all the energy that the children also possess so that they can “follow” them.
Each club has a philosophy for sports, which is “reflected” almost entirely on its coaches, they are also the ones “delivering” its philosophy.
Ensuring the elements that sport offers is the point, the cost for the benefits can be 15 minutes more on the road or reconfiguring the family program based on the child’s training, however “ensuring” the child a multi-year presence in the sports environment with simultaneous pleasure and satisfaction from his participation. Having made the right choice of the person-coach in whom they will trust a lot of the child’s free time and will contribute to his development in all areas of his personality.
Perhaps in the end the answer to the question can be summed up in: “If you want to choose a club, choose the right coach!”
Yannis Zarotis MSc- PhD
Psychologist – Sports Psychologist