Coaching Children


To run a successful children’s wrestling program, try treating the wrestlers differently than you would when running an adult program. Put the FUN in FUNdamentals. When children are having fun, learning becomes natural and easy. Studies show that learning happens best when it’s a side-effect of a Fun activity such as sports. In addition, this type of learning is more likely to stick with the child as they grow up.

The following are some basic suggestions for how to get the most out of your childrens program.

  1. Emphasize skill development.
    Do not rush to teach them more techniques than they need or can remember. Drill the fundamentals of wrestling on a daily or weekly basis; Not only the stance, motion, level changes, etc., but also the Back Arch, Back Step, Hops, Cartwheels, Basic Gymnastics that build your base, and more. Use games periodically to incorporate the basic skills into your practice.

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  3. Shadow drill frequently.
    Children need to learn to control their own bodies before they can control someone else. Plus, everyone on the mat is drilling intensely and simultaneously, instead of half of the children just being someone’s partner. Shadow drilling is fun for children and good conditioning. Children use their imagination well which can help lead you into teaching visualization skills. Children are never too young to dream about becoming a champion.

  4. Be enthusiastic and give positive feedback frequently.
    Young wrestlers thrive on positive feedback when they do something well. Also, give parents positive feedback if their child is doing well. They also need to stay motivated and hearing that their child is doing well gives them a big boost.

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  6. Encourage parents to get involved.
    Welcome and encourage parents to watch training sessions. Welcome them to get on the mats and help. Encourage parents to sign up as an assistant coach, child protection officer or take up an official role within your club so they are trained properly and covered by insurance before they start. The more personal attention your students receive, the quicker they will improve. Sometimes you may have a lot of children training or competing at one time, so the parents should understand they need to be an asset in the club rather than a detriment.

  7. Run a tight ship, but let the Children have fun.
    Take your instructional phase of practice seriously but keep it entertaining too. Good teachers and coaches make their instruction interesting for the children, so they pay attention and have fun. Incorporate stories and interesting analogies into your instruction. Carefully structure the practice so the children benefit as much as possible and also, make time for a couple of "games" in every practice. Use a variety of fun games that incorporate wrestling skills and conditioning into them. If the children get through a segment of practice and do really well, we often play a game for a couple minutes as a reward before moving on to next segment.

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  9. Incorporate live wrestling throughout your practice.
    In a traditional practice, most live wrestling is done at the end of the session, and some do not incorporate much live wrestling at all. Children can only absorb so much instruction at once, so break up your practice with segments of live wrestling. Let your students wrestle a live match after warming up and doing some basic skill drills. It seems to settle them down and tire them out a little. The result is that they pay better attention when you teach. Live situations are also an essential training tool. They allow you to teach important technique points between starts and the Children enjoy them because they get to wrestle.

  10. Utilize videotape for instruction and motivation.
    Beginners need to see what it looks like when a move is executed correctly in competition and edited highlight tapes can prove to be very motivational.
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  12. Teach more than just technique.
    Emphasize to your wrestlers the value of sportsmanship, poise, goal-setting, discipline, work ethic and the other important "lessons of life". Wrestling coaches can have a greater impact on character and life than school teachers. Instill the “lessons of life” in your students because it will undoubtedly help them in everything they do throughout their lives. Children look up to you more than you will ever realise.

iCoachkids Resource Website

iCoachkids is a not-for-profit global coaching movement that was initiated in 2016. The success of the project has been unprecedented and attracted attention and interest from non-EU nations, International Sports Federations and Global players in health and industry. As a result, the iCoachkids Movement was formed to harness the motivation, interest, and momentum for the development of a Global Sport System that provides a safe a developmentally appropriate environment for each and every child.

iCoachkids vision is to have child-centred sport environments that provide safe developmental experiences for every child.

iCoachkids is led by Leeds Beckett University (UK) and the International Council for Coaching Excellence and brings together another six world-class organisations with a common desire to support youth coaches and a proven track record of doing so. These include Sport Ireland Coaching, the Hungarian Coaches Association, the Netherlands Olympic Committee, the European University of Madrid, Lithuanian Sport University, and the Royal Belgian Football Association.

Useful links to help you improve your coaching of Children..

How children learn -

Motivating children and sport -

Diversity and inclusion in sport -

Physical literacy -

How children grow and develop -

Talent identification and development - development.html

Helping you plan your coaching -

Safeguarding and protecting children in sport - protecting-children-in-sport.html

Children's personal development through sport -

Wellbeing and lifestyle -

Getting better as a Coach -

iCoachkids Europe Main Page -