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Managing a training session

The golden rule for any training session is always to make it fun for the children.

Use game-orientated training - kids love to play. You can camouflage drills by using games, but remember the result is not the focus.

All sessions need to be planned beforehand so think about the following:

  • What are you going to do?
  • What do the children need/want to do?
  • What is the ability of the children you are planning for?
  • Have you chosen appropriate activities?
  • Check the playing area to ensure it is safe
  • Set up equipment beforehand
  • Understand the skills you are about to teach

    The session

    The following will help you to build up a basic plan for an hour's session:

  • Always start on time and get things going quickly.

  • Go through at least a 5-10 minute warm up.

  • Go over a skill that you have previously taught for some positive reinforcement. Give plenty of praise and encouragement.

  • Demonstrate new skills - allow around 5-10 minutes for this. Make sure everybody can see. Do it slowly and clearly to start off with.

  • Children need to understand where each skill fits with each other so they can relate to using them at the appropriate time. Let everybody have a go at practising the new set of skills.

  • Watch what's happening. If you intervene to make corrections try and do it positively. If the skill has proved a bit tricky for the children to grasp, demonstrate it again.

  • Leave enough time for some game play - about a quarter-of-an-hour, and keep your instructions to a minimum at this point. Make sure everybody is involved.

  • Finish with enough time for a 5-10 minute cool down and include fun games to keep their attention.

  • While kids are warming down keep talking to them. Ask questions about the skill they have learned and give some positive feedback.

    After the session

  • Take some time to evaluate what happened. Did everybody have fun? If not, why not?

  • Did everybody have a go or were some excluded? What could you do to improve the next session?


  • If I went to a new club I would want to make sure that safety, child protection, qualified coaches, insurance, first aid etc were sufficiently covered.
    - Kimberley Dight Smith, hockey coach

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