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Next-Gen Coaches: Solving Our Shortage “The Season” (4)

For most of the season start with the U11 All Stripes, I had been coaching solo, which can be tough and somewhat lonely. I've always advocated for coaches getting help, but I struggled to find a parent who could consistently assist.

So I was pretty stressed when I had to miss a team practice for a recent work trip. After working through potential solutions A, B, C and D, a helpful parent eventually volunteered, and I sent him a detailed plan, which he was very thankful for.

I called my son after the training to see how it went (you see he’s very good at giving me feedback on the car ride home – the almost opposite of what can often happen) and he said it was an awesome practice. You see two local representative female players from the local Sporting Organisation had unexpectedly come to assist, unbeknown to me or our parent coach. He said the coaches had taught him heaps and were real fun. That then sparked an idea…

Perhaps the solution to our coaching shortage wasn't just about finding more parents, but about bringing in young adult players? Some sports already utilise student coaches due to coaching shortfalls. For example, in Netball, there are approximately 1,800 student coaches throughout New Zealand. 

So after some slick coach recruitment we recently welcomed Izzy to help coach the All Stripes. In her early 20s, Izzy is energetic and full of fresh ideas. The players adore her, responding exceptionally well to her vibrant coaching style.. She even incorporated a "Dance Battle'' into the match day warm-up last week, which was a hit.

This approach has considerable merit as young coaches may be able to relate better to young players, adopt current coaching approaches, plus they benefit from giving back and learning more about their sport.

Building partnerships with local secondary schools, tertiary institutes and clubs could be a strategic move. These young coaches will need support and mentorship, but the potential benefits are undeniable. It seems like a win-win situation.

As for the two unexpected coaches, they were from the local Sporting Organisation and were supposed to conduct a 'tackle clinic' with the Under 8 team—not our U11 All Stars. This serendipitous mix-up revealed that sometimes the best coaching solutions come from the most unexpected places.


Match Report

We played the ‘top of the table’ team and were up 12-0 after 5 minutes. I was patting myself on the back, thinking how good we were. Then the opposition ran in 50 unanswered points before we scored the last try. They were too big, fast, and physical. At halftime, we talked about the ‘next play’ as their heads were clearly starting to drop—all normal behavior for kids (and adults) when things aren’t going your way. There were some good lessons learned moving forward. Onwards and upwards.


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