How to coach Juniors better

Discussion in 'Coaching Forum' started by BadmintonDave, Apr 4, 2022.

  1. BadmintonDave

    BadmintonDave Regular Member

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    I'm level 1 coaching qualified and am helping on Sunday mornings with a club that coach children pretty much aged 6 to 16.

    The first hour is the younger and more beginner players, the second hour is the slightly older and improved players and the final 90 minutes are the high intermediate players.

    I'm having trouble with the first group mostly. The issue is, them listening to what I suggest and practicing what the head coach demonstrates. We were doing backhand serves yesterday and the corrections I suggested were in one ear and out the other. Simple changes like having a short grip for more control. Not having a large swing. Doing a slight push with the thumb.

    The second half of the practice had the 2nd of the pair grab the shuttle as high as possible when being served to. To teach them about attacking the serve and getting there quickly. I demonstrated how to stand. Pushing off with the back leg etc and after telling the child 3 times to start sideways, they still were square on and waiting for the shuttle to come to them.

    I know they don't see the importance of a good backhand serve, and practicing it for 20-30 minutes can get boring for them, but I have explained about the first 3 shots and getting to the shot quickly is important. I just feel ignored.

    How do I be more forceful or make the children more receptive to my suggestions when they are doing things wrong? Feels like I have tried everything but shouting, which I would never do.

    "try it this way [demo]". "how did that feel?". "Do it like head coach showed everyone". etc.

    --
    And with the next group, we were doing smashes. They were struggling with the timing, power and angle. With only 10-15 minutes of practice I was hoping to see some improvement, but I didn't see any. Even with me doing feeds instead of the other pair.

    Do I just accept that they need a lot more practice and all I can do is feed them until the technique clicks with them?
     
  2. Cheung

    Cheung Moderator

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    It’s just Sunday mornings right? No other days?

    The issue is in fact the coach having a too high an expectation. One hour a week for beginners is nothing. Not even enough for a tiny bit of improvement (rather sadly). The class is there to generate interest.

    Been through it with my own kids. You’ll start to get improvement if you can encourage kids to come twice a week. Then they can start remember what happened four days ago as opposed to a week ago.

    The better ones are those who have had some sort of training perhaps in other sports.
     
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  3. SnowWhite

    SnowWhite Regular Member

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    I am not a coach. But I am a player that's been coached. Nothing has ever worked better for me when learning technique than a coach physically taking my arm and making it do the movement. He would tell me to relax my arm, and he will manoeuvre it to do the shot. After a couple times, he would ask me to move with the movement. He still moved my arm, but my arm isn't completely relaxed. It is doing the movement. Then he would let go and tell me to do it myself. After a few times it's back to whatever exercise we were doing, and implementing the shot. Of course this completely isolates the shot technique from anything else and it doesn't really work for footwork.

    Teaching the conscious brain how to move the body is much more difficult than teaching the body directly, especially when you're teaching children with limited motivation/concentration.

    My first coach when I was 7 did this on the first day to help with forehand overhead shots because I kept letting the shuttle drop too much before hitting it. But the best example is my backhand. I struggled for a long time with high backhands, especially clears. It's such a glaring weakness in most juniors. We practiced it plenty, but it just never got any better until a new coach made me feel the shot, and within a few sessions it was becoming a very respectable shot. That might be the most effect a single coaching session has had on my play.
     
  4. thyrif

    thyrif Regular Member

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    I hear you're having trouble with the youngest groups. In my experience, at least in Western culture, kids go to the sport they have fun with, and parents like it that way. Spending 20m on a serve is probably not matching their attention span.

    What can also help for younger kids is to coach on results, not process. "I don't care how, but I want to see you keep hitting the shuttle straight up, and need to hit it at shoulder height" will lead them to experiment with different grips, and let them explore (under a bit of guidance). They will see a different grip will make the shuttle go away from them. Try forehand, backhand, and different heights of hitting! Change grips often.

    Bringing in obstacles or assignments to help them achieve the results you want is powerful. "Hitting it higher" won't make sense to them, but perhaps something silly like putting up a hoop in the air 2 meters in front of them that they have to hit through will give them instant feedback and help them adjust based on results.

    Maybe this can help to try some things out and see from there.
     
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  5. BadmintonDave

    BadmintonDave Regular Member

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    Correct. It used to be on a Saturday and a Sunday before the venue moved across the road and was rebuilt to be bigger. But now they condensed the groups into just Sunday one after the other. Annoyingly because of half terms and sometimes the hall isn't available it could be up 21 days gap between sessions.

    That's not something I currently do, but I will take it on board. I suppose it works best on kinaesthetic learning style inclined players as opposed to Visual ones.

    That's a good way to approach learning. I'll have to think of some props I can use.

    Thank you all :)
     
  6. Cheung

    Cheung Moderator

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    Honestly speaking, one hour a week is nothing. Even getting 15mins extra just to do running exercises like a team relay would be good. If the weather is okay, one of the coaches could take the kids to an area outside of the sports hall to do the running while the other coach does the warm up with the next group.


    I am surprised the head coach is trying to teach these to beginners. If the kids are losing interest, this complexity and detail is partly why. Backhand serves and attacking serves are more for experienced players.

    I would suggest keeping to simpler more basic techniques.
     
  7. ralphz

    ralphz Regular Member

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    Backhand low serve was the first thing I learnt, and served me well. Had I been a junior I don't think that'd make any difference. For me it was one of the easiest thing to learn. And one of my best shots early on. Even players that were intermediate level were asking me how I did it.

    And a short grip is just a simple and natural thing if shown it for the backhand low serve.

    I was at a casual club where there was a boy of about 5-10 years of age, that I showed that to and we won some game against his mother and somebody else.

    The beauty of learning that serve is it's the first shot so there's no ton of variables leading up to it. It's not footwork dependent. There's no temptation to whack it and then lose technique. For me it's one of the most simple things to learn in Badminton. Returning serve is way more complicated.
     
    #7 ralphz, Dec 16, 2022
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2022
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  8. Kaydee

    Kaydee Regular Member

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    Let them just enjoy the game. Impart the idea of fun in badminton and make the entire session entertaining.

    Not everyone that plays will be good or pursue badminton later on in life, but if you teach them that this sport is fun they will want to learn how to do it properly later on.
     

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