Empathy is a skill that is important in all areas of life. By supporting its development, you’ll help to give your players a great start – whatever the future holds.
2. Developing your own ability When you work with young players, you’ll have many opportunities to practise and display empathy. This particularly evident during competition!
Whatever happens, remember that your Foundation Phase team has a lot going on. They've got a wealth of information to digest, a ball to 'tame', and teammates and parents telling them what to do. Your players will also have their own ideas (based on what they see happening and feel capable of doing). For example, they're often driven to makes passes to friends – even if it’s a poor decision.
As a coach, you’re in a position to recognise and manage these issues. You can help by:
- giving clear and simple instructions
- supporting your players’ decisions
- forgiving mistakes – and use them as a learning opportunity
- helping your players to identify important bits of information
- using game-based practices (this illustrates how coaching relates to the 'real world').
By acknowledging the challenges your players face, empathising with their feelings and taking action to manage the situation, you'll help to provide the psychological support your team needs.
Take a moment to reflect: do you think empathy is an important trait? Maybe it's helped you support a player or deal with a touchline dispute?
To learn more about Foundation Phase DNA, click here.