How to Get Kids to Listen in Sports

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We all know that kids do not always listen. It can be frustrating when your attempting to teach a group of kids a sport and they aren’t paying attention. You cannot control the fact that kids aren’t always going to listen. However, there are some strategies that may assist you and get them more active, as well as further develop their skills.

There are many different ways to help engage a group of youth, many strategies that differ based on factors such as gender and age (LeBolt, 2015). Here are some strategies to help you get your group of kids to listen while your teaching them sports:

Recognize Proper Behaviour(s)

When you notice that one your group members did something positive, such as pass the soccer ball with the inside of their foot, or even was very attentive during your practice session, praise them for it (Pley Sports, 2016). Children appreciate positive affirmation when they make progress while learning a sport. Be sure to keep a keen eye out on your athletes and notice the little details in their performances that could be praised (Pley Sports, 2016). This can be an effective tool in reinforcing the desired behaviour (Cherry, 2018). Recognizing proper behaviours could really play a large part in changing a disengaged athlete into a upbeat, excited one.

Verbal and Non-Verbal Cues

When you as a coach are in charge of  a group of kids, it can be helpful to use strategies that will to get and keep their attention. For example, using phrases such as  “1,2,3 eyes on me”, then having the kids respond with “1,2,3 eyes on you” may help (Pley Sports, 2016). This trick can work on a group of children because they will most likely always respond promptly with their eyes on you.

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Bring Out Your Inner-Kid

Kids are participating in sports to have fun! So, have fun with them! Get involved in the drills, be a little silly and spontaneous, and joke around with them (Pley Sports, 2016).

Kids will enjoy participating in drills more when you as their coach does the drills with them, whether it be chasing them or playing alongside them. Being able to help the kids have fun is so vital to their development in the sport or activity, as they are still just learning and it is typically very non-competitive at a young age.

Being able to let loose with the kids ultimately helps develop a bond with them, which should make them less nervous around you and therefore have more fun! Kids learn the best when they are enjoying themselves and should have an easier time listening and staying engaged when they are (Willis, 2017).