Kids In Teams

It’s all about the Kids

Kids in Teams – What's it all about

Steve Jenkins - Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Kids In Teams helps parents & coaches focus on the Kids development, self-worth & enjoyment.


To make every junior sporting event a rewarding experience for every child participating.


Through playing the sport of choice, Kids should have the opportunity to build self-worth, develop as a player, a team member and a person. Most importantly the game should be a fun filled stress free experience.



Parents are the primary role models for their kids. Their own objectives set the examples for the Kids.


Coaches are the role models for the team. Likewise their own objectives set the example for the kids.

Paradigm shift

A paradigm serves as a pattern or model. It is a set of assumptions, concepts, values, and practices that constitutes a way of viewing reality for the community who shares them.

The model for the parent is centred on their own child and also their own competitive instinct. Most parents would be very comfortable with the scenario that the team wins 10-0 and their own child contributes 5 goals. Did the child do their best? Does this make a difference to how the parents feels? Supposing the team loses 10-0. The child plays a self-rewarding, team based game that they really enjoy. How does the parent feel? Which scenario does the parent prefer?

The model for the coach is results centred and also their competitive instinct. If the team wins then the most of the parents are happy – even if it means sacrificing the enjoyment of one or two or the weaker players.

The model for the parent is centred on their own child and also their own competitive instinct.

Example 1 - the team wins 6-0 and the star contributes 5 goals. Did the team do their best? Does this make a difference to how the adults feels?

Example 2 - the team loses 6-0. The team plays a self-rewarding, team based game that they all really enjoy. How do the adults feel?

Which example does the coach prefer?

Which example does the parent prefer?

The paradigm shift is to watch the game through all of the kid's eyes – as a natural way of thinking. The involvement, emotions and enjoyment that the kids get is the sole focus for the parents and coaches interpretation and reflection of the game.

To help understand this shift, Kids In Teams has its own model. This model has been constructed to guide the coach through the season. Looking at themselves, planning the roles and responsibilities, inspiring and nurturing the kids and focussing on the kid's self-worth, development and enjoyment rather than the final score.

The Model

  • Foundation – You have to understand yourself before making the paradigm shift.
  • Planning and Preparation – Hard work all done before the first match
  • Playing the game – Our behaviour, the example we set, what we can learn ourselves
  • Outcomes. If we are role models then the kids can benefit from playing the game

The Foundation

Know Yourself

"The first thing you have to know is yourself. A man who knows himself can step outside himself and watch his own reactions like an observer." - Adam Smith Scottish Economist and philosopher (June 1723 – July 1790)

To be a good role model one a coach has to act in a controlled calculated manner. We are all human, we all have buttons. A coach needs to understand his or her own buttons. Planning and Preparation


Who does the team belong to? Not the coach. Help the kids come up with an appropriate name that they own.

Manage Expectations

Do the parents know what the coach's goals and objectives are? If this is left up in the air they are likely to assume it's to win every game and finish top of the league. The objectives of are to maximise enjoyment, development of the kids as individual players, team players and people. The child's self-worth is of upmost importance. The coach needs to sell this message to the parents and the kids.

Aims and Objectives

In my own experience I have found kids to be more receptive than adults to setting objectives and working on achieving them. Kids In Teams helps coaches set personal objectives for the development of the player, the team and what the child gets out of the sport that they can use in their lives. This is the subject of a future post.


Kids experience structure at school. The coach needs to set the structure for training sessions and what the routine is on game day.

Playing the Game

Inspire, Influence and Nurture

The coach is a role model. This role model can be negative or positive. The kids may have few positive role models in their lives. The coach can make a difference – by being themselves, setting a good example, taking interest in everything each child does.

It's about the kids

This is the captain of Kids In Teams. So often a coach will sacrifice game time of a weaker player to secure a win. The result will soon be archived and deleted but the child who missed time on the field will unlikely forget.

Teach and be taught

Kids can be so honest it's a wasted opportunity for the coach to not reflect on what a child says or does. Good coaches are sponges. They are prepared to take in more water even when they are already soaking. A good coach appreciates that there is always more to learn – particularly from the kids.



The coach is expected to teach the child technical aspects of the game. is about taking this development further, the child's role as a team player and also how they can use their teamwork as life skills.


It's a game played by kids. It's meant to be fun. Ask the kids – "is this fun?"


Kids are impressionable. Helping kids value their contribution, their improvement and noticing the effort they put in can lift them and give them the confidence to do more.

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