Waitakere College student coaches leading the way in West Auckland

As the population increases in Auckland, so too the amount of young people participating in sport, and in turn the pressure on the systems that support this. West Auckland secondary schools are putting a renewed focus on developing the next generation of coaches by not only giving students the technical skills to help them be a successful coach, but also the broader skills that help coaches deal with the pressures and influences off the pitch.

At Waitakere College, and led by Sports Coordinator Paul McGrath, the sports department have enlisted the support of Sport Waitakere to deliver the Good Sports programme to their student coaches, as part of the development of their own coaching philosophies. Paul said “we want to help our student coaches with their development as leaders/coaches. Often the students are asked to be coaches, given a whistle then left to their own devices”. The overarching aim of Good Sports is to assist in helping coaches create positive sporting experiences by supporting and educating the key influencers in children’s sport including parents, coaches, teachers and sport leaders.

In the workshop tailored for 20 of Waitakere College’s winter sport student coaches, the focus was on 3 key areas. Firstly how to identify and positively influence side-line behaviour, secondly how to create and foster a positive coaching philosophy based around their school values and thirdly, and most importantly, how to develop their confidence to deal with issues through discussion and group sharing forums with other coaches.

“A highlight of the workshop was seeing the students identifying the impact of negative behaviour on their team either by a player or parent etc, then coming up with solutions through discussions to resolve any issues created”.

Malena, who is a year 13 coach of a year 9 netball team got huge value out of the workshop saying “The workshop was great. I learnt some different ways to approach the players in our team and how to get them more involved. I also learnt that I should ask more about what the players want to do, not just give my own ideas”.

The next steps from here are that these coaches will take what they have learnt to their teams and implement some of the skills, whilst coming back together as a group to discuss issues and solutions as part of their personal coach development, with support from Sport Waitakere. This workshop will be run again at the start of Term 4 for the summer sport coaches, to ensure that the development and support for coaches is a year round commitment.

Sport Waitakere Regional Sport Director David George noted that “student coaches really are the future of our school sport sporting infrastructure. The more we can support them in their formative coaching years to manage themselves and their environment, the more confidence they will have to continue to coach, and in turn the more capacity we will have to have more West Auckland schools participating in more sporting opportunities. Waitakere College are really setting the bar high, not only for our West Auckland schools to follow suit, but also the rest of the country”.