The enjoyment that comes from feeling safe, secure, valued and respected.
Seeing progress, setting achievable targets, being dignified in victory and defeat, working together.
The use of positive language, feedback, using words that convey value and respect and help to instil a sense of belief (not false belief or big headedness).
Football will provide you with many opportunities to help players cope with how they feel and through this approach you can help them to regulate their emotions in a really positive and productive way.
However, it’s important that you also model the kind of behaviour that you want to see in your players. Ranting and raving at the referee, shouting at players and allowing your frustrations to get the better of you will destroy the environment you’re advocating and the players will see straight through you.
At all times you have to think: what are the players learning from my behaviours?
Children in the Foundation Phase construct their knowledge of the world by what they see, hear and experience so they will mimic and copy the actions of the adults around them.
And why wouldn’t they - aren’t adults supposed to know how to behave?
To summarise, using C.H.A.M.P. is:
- using the principles and processes of positive psychology when planning, communicating, providing feedback and speaking with players
- wanting the young players to have a really positive experience if they have chosen to engage with football and commit to joining a team
- getting to know each child and trying to provide the right challenges for them
- seeing your involvement with the team as an opportunity to help each player improve and to help them become an even better person
- using football to present a balanced perspective on winning, losing, sportsmanship and respect
- sending out a strong message that the result is important but what you learn from the experience is more important.
You have a unique opportunity in the Foundation Phase to help develop your young players attitudes to participation and competition.
A positive environment doesn’t mean it’s easy or not demanding. In fact it’s the exact opposite. A positive environment means that you can really challenge the players because you know them well and, through the relationship you have built up a level of trust has been established that allows you to push the players to even greater things.
This article was based on a model from University Centre Hartpury’s Tony Ghaye, following his research around the creation of a positive environment and using a positive psychology with young sports people.
To learn more about Foundation Phase DNA, click here.