Direct and profound contact and communication with children requires education, practice, and effort, just like learning a new sport or a foreign language. Coaches and teachers who come into contact with children because of teaching are experts in the sport or activity. However, because they play an important role in shaping children’s experiences and personalities, it is necessary to educate them about the skills and ways of approaching and communicating with children.
The psychosynthesis of children
Children are not our robots, objects, or sub-hands. They are human beings, and they deserve to be treated: with respect and parity. They have needs, experience emotions, and need contact, communication, especially during the formation of their personality. For this reason, the voices, the penalties, the imposition, the orders, the blows undermine the relationship of the child – coach/teacher and strengthen the subjugation and fear of sanctions and not the mutual respect, cooperation, initiative, self-confidence!
The “power” of the teacher
You can use the “power” offered by the teacher/coach’s role with a positive sign and not impose your way, your desires, and your rhythms. Power (or authority) is seemingly sufficient under certain circumstances and completely ineffective under others. Transform into templates to emulate, not templates to avoid. Offer motivation, show love and empathy, apologize, communicate your own needs and feelings, accept children’s needs and feelings, show respect.
Love for the sport
The teacher “teaches” the child the love for the sport/ hobby he practices. Show how you apply the sport, how you practice it, and how you “transform” how you feel filled during training. Get obsessed with this sport, like when you decided you wanted to deal with it more professionally. Fall in love with this sport again and pass on that love to the children.
Effort Vs. Feat
For the feats to come, it is useful first to strengthen the efforts. Kids who don’t do so well, it doesn’t mean they don’t deserve it or try less than other kids.
Children who don’t do so well may:
· Need more time to familiarize themselves with the sport and their bodies.
· Have slower learning rates.
· Do not recognize the breadth of their capabilities.
· Be particularly discouraged about their skills.
· Need more support and encouragement to continue efforts.
Material Rewards Vs. Internal Motivation
Material rewards for supporting/ rewarding children work in the short term and for as long as the material reward lasts (e.g., “Anyone who manages to run this distance in less than 2 minutes will win a lollipop”). When there isn’t a prize, the effort made by the children is not the same.
The older the children, the less they are controlled by rewards and punishments. Their teachers’ bonuses no longer direct them because they don’t need them that much. And they are no longer touched by threats of punishment because they cannot cause them pain or intense discomfort.
The inner motivation is what will offer in effort and feats long term. The internal motivation will come with tangible contact with the advantages of the sport/ hobbies that children practice and the feelings that this causes them. Dealing with the sport/hobby for the sport itself and not for winning, empowers children and offers them creative outlets. Unlike bribes, doing everything with joy strengthens proximity, trust, and cooperation.
The internal motivation translated into the advantages of sport:
· Inner sense of peace and tranquility
· Relaxation and release
· Resort to it for relief when there is a negative emotional charge
· Feeling well-being after engaging in this sport/ hobby
Criticism and comments that injure children’s psyche
· “You’re not a good boy!”
· “You’re always so naughty and disobedient!”
· “Can’t you learn to behave properly?”
· “How many times do I have to tell you to figure it out? Are you stupid?”
· “You should be ashamed!”
· “Am I talking to people or monkeys?”
· “Even Kate, who is younger than you, understands better what I’m saying to her!” and so on.
Comments of this kind bring a variety of results:
· Undermine children’s trust in themselves and their potential
· Put them in the process of competition for performance, instead of learning to collaborate and help each other
· They give up trying and don’t want to try again.
· They enter the comparison process with a superior and inferior performance of other children
o In the case of superior performance, a feeling of defeatism and a lack of incentives to continue efforts are created.
o In the case of inferior performance, a strong feeling of ambition is created, avoidance of defeat in any way, intense cancellation at the slightest failure.
The power/influence that coaches/teachers have on children is enormous; they can either “sink” them into the “ocean” or help them reach the top. So, exploit the position of influence you find yourself in, raise children who will become adults with faith in themselves and their abilities, and, above all, love for the life and gifts it offers.