5 Easy Ways to Motivate Children in Sport


Let’s face it, working with kids is not always easy. Children are often not the best of listeners and don’t always follow the instructions that are given to them. Children also tend to be easily distracted and have a short attention span.

Keeping them engaged in an activity is vital to their success within a sport and exercise setting. With this being said, trying to make them do something they aren’t interested in can be even more difficult. Making the environment more fun and productive for them as they grow as both a young athlete and a person.

Apply these 5 tips, can assist you in motivating any young athletes you are working with:

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Use an Appropriate Level of Difficulty

As a coach or instructor, it’s important to select drills and activities for your athlete(s) that involve a level of difficulty but is also appropriate for their age and skill level. Choosing drills that is too easy for them, will result in them becoming bored and they will not want to exert as much effort into it.

On the other hand, if you choose a drill that is too difficult for their skill level, there is a chance that they will become overwhelmed. With this being said, it is important to have drills that are moderately challenging.

Fun Producing Elements

This is especially important when dealing with non-competitive sports and young athletes. Being able to incorporate fun into a drill, it can help change the skill-set that you are trying to teach rather than focusing on the drill. This can help make the participants forget that it is a practice, and promote enjoyment.

Demonstrate Interest in the Activity

Be sure to ask the kid(s) what did they liked and disliked about the sport they have been taught. Ask them simple questions like, “How did the practice go?”, or “What did you enjoy the most? And least?”, this helps show that you have interest in what they’re doing and what they have to say. This will make them feel that  their opinion matters (Lynne, 2017). Janis Meredith suggested to not to ask too many questions, as it may inflict unintentional pressure on the kid (as cited by Lynne, 2017).

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Body Language and Tone of Voice

This is important across all age groups, not only children. Demonstrating body language that is congruent with the message you are trying to get across is very important. If your words are saying things like “Let’s have fun!”, yet you are slouched and the tone in your voice is dull, then it can convey mixed signals to the athlete(s).

Be a Clear Communicator

There are often times where the drills assigned to athletes aren’t accompanied with an explanation as to why they are doing a particular drill and what benefits are. Not knowing the point of the drill, may mean they are more likely to be disinterested, especially if it is too difficult or easy. Taking the short-time to communicate to them what to focus on and why you are doing this drill, they will have a better understanding of the concept and could very well likely put forth a greater effort in return.

Incorporating these 5 motivations into your coaching practices will assist you in keeping your class motivated when you’re teaching children any type of sports.