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Exploring the Profound Benefits of Professional Coaching in Sports

professional sports coaching young kids

When we talk to people about why they keep up or fall out of love with a sport, the coach almost always comes up as a determining factor: “I loved my teammates and my coaches”; “I quit because I hated the coach”. When the goal is a lifelong love of sport, the role of a professional coach in sport is critical for both performance and joy. Let’s dive into the benefits of professional coaching for kids.

What is professional coaching in sports?

Choosing to become a professional sports coach is a vocation – the manifestation of a love of sport and a desire to pass that on to the next generation. For professional coaches like those at Centaurs, it’s a job and a career that is continuously improved, built upon, and diversified.

Compared to volunteer coaching, professional coaching offers elements of experience, impartiality, dedication, and learning. Where you see the benefits of professional coaching is that professional coaches are best equipped to adapt their coaching style for the child and team’s needs.

Professional coaching complements volunteer coaching (and vice versa)

There’s no playbook for “how to be the perfect coach”.

The best coach for your child will often depend a lot on the child themself – their personality, experience, ambition, potential, and skill. Your child could respond brilliantly to a volunteer coach or to a professional coach if that person “gets” them.

There are merits to both professional and volunteer coaches within children’s sport. Volunteer coaches often have children the same age, understand the current dynamics of the peer group, and can more easily socialise with the parents than a professional coach can (or should). These interactions have huge benefits for building a team’s community.

What are the benefits of professional coaching in sport?

To coach, you have to have in-depth knowledge of the sport – for many professional coaches, it’s likely they have experience playing to a high level. They’ll understand basics, skills, strategies, tactics, and more through their own experience on the court or pitch.

Integrated in the sport’s community, professional coaches have connections to leverage for:

  • Games and playing opportunities
  • Specific skill refinement
  • Complementary strength and conditioning
  • Rehabilitation
  • Opportunities and pathways for advancement/sports careers.

With dedication and experience, their professionalism comes into planning and delivering for individual players and the collective team, with long-term goals and athlete/team development pathways.

Skill development & tactical knowledge

Professional coaching requires professional qualification. While certification varies by sport and by country, almost all certifications require a demonstration of knowledge and the ability of the candidate to impart knowledge to another person.

Additionally, professional coaches understand the progressive nature of skills and can build and deliver curriculums that are age-appropriate and within the guidelines of governing bodies. Which brings us to…

Deeper understanding of their sport and sport culture

Professional coaches have to be aware of the rules and regulations surrounding a sport and keep up to date with governing body changes at global and regional levels. Many professional coaches will hold umpiring or refereeing certifications too, and be expected to be up to date on the latest rule changes and news in the sport at a professional level.

Passionate coaches go beyond the bare minimum and seek to upskill in all aspects of an athlete’s journey: psychology, communication, nutrition, physiology, first aid, safeguarding (more on this below), and more.

professional coach touch rugby

Mental resilience, mentoring & leadership

A good coach is a motivator and a mentor. What motivates and inspires an individual – especially a child – is totally unique; what works for one player may not work for another. This is a key benefit of professional coaching – a trained, qualified coach’s ability to individualise and communicate feedback.

Coaches who play (or used to play) understand the ins and outs of a game, how a player might be feeling during a game, and help use personal experience to guide their team through the ups and downs of sport – wins, losses, not being picked for a team, or being sidelined due to injury. When a player understands that feedback comes from a place of empathy and experience, the coach’s words have more authority.

Trust and respect are extremely powerful and essential to a positive coach-player/team dynamic. While challenges may arise, such as conflicts in coaching styles or interpersonal dynamics, these hurdles can be overcome through respect, goal alignment, proactive communication, and a commitment to mutual understanding.

Goal setting & tracking

An experienced coach who coaches the same players regularly not only builds rapport with the player but can track performance and improvement over time for their charges.

Professional coaches can see and identify areas of strengths, weakness, or improvement, and can set goals with their players that can be measured week on week. Not only does this foster a culture of excellence and accountability for both player and coach, but also helps players psychologically – everyone loves to improve and succeed in something they’ve been working on!

Accountability & protection

It’s becoming increasingly important for coaches to understand the impact of coach-player power dynamics and the risks of abuse in sports. What coaches say and do is important, as it comes from a position of authority and the impacts on a player (especially a child) can be lasting – whether that’s positive or negative.

To coach children, professional coaches must also undergo safeguarding and background checks. This is a major benefit of professional coaching that many parents rightfully prioritise when looking for a sports coach for their child.

Professional coaching puts significant emphasis on the responsibilities a coach has with their players and teams. Coaches are expected to be consistently professional, lead by example and prioritise safety above all else – failure to adhere to these standards for a professional coach could lead to reputational damage and loss of livelihood.

nebtall coach singapore

Why Centaurs embraces professional coaching

In the Centaurs model, children benefit from both professional coaching and volunteer/parent coaching. In this set up, the benefits of professional coaching are complimented by the personal nature of the parent coach community. With this, we hope to achieve an inclusive and supportive ecosystem that hopes for the players to love their coaches and their sport for life.

From skill enhancement to mental resilience, career development, and beyond, professional sports coaches play an indispensable role in shaping the success of athletes and teams from grassroots community sports like Centaurs Rugby, Touch and Netball all the way to the Olympics.

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