disruptive child

hi, so the hardest thing i have to deal with is disruptive boys. i coach under 9s. they are a good bunch of lads. but sometimes they spend alot of time messing around. i try to keep them active and doing drills or matches. but balls end up flying everywhere. the last thing i want to do is raise my voice. i do a sin bin for 2mins. is this a good idea? or is there something else i can try?


  • Lee, working in the foundation phase can be such a rewarding experience  but it can also be a really "tough gig" so sorry to hear things are not going as well as you would have liked. To help I would need some further information such as: how many players are in your group and do they all play up or is it just one or two/some? Also, do they know each other outside your sessions (school, live and play together often) as this could also have a bearing on behaviour.

    Setting the environment for learning and development is hard because children will come for lots of different reasons but some things are non negotiable in my opinion. Many teams have codes of conducts but if these contain lots of things then hardly anyone will remember them so it might be good to focus on just 3; Safety, Learning and Respect as most poor behaviour will impact negatively on one of these things. Using 3 things means everyone will remember them and you have a chance to shape the behaviour you desire.

    The reason I asked if it is all the boys or just some is that virtually all children want the attention of the adults involved in their development and relationships. However, if all of your attention is given to those that misbehave then others might think it is the quickest way to get the coaches attention. Try to focus on the behaviours you want and expect. Notice players listening or paying attention if you are explaining what is going to happen. Notice and praise players who try hard, react well after a mistake, try to help others and are kind and considerate of others. The message to the disrupters is that if you want my attention behave this way. This sounds easy but may take time but be consistent in your praise and learn how to "tactically ignore" some poor behaviours whilst you praise those that are buying into your philosophy.

    I would also bring the parents on board so that they can help reinforce the approach you want to take.

    Be aware that changes in behaviour take time so be patient but consistent in your approach.

    Good luck.


  • Hi Lee

    Ive Tried a few things when these distractions occur.

    I always try not to single youngsters out, so for me personally i would stay away from sin bins.

    if your trying to get a message across and they are talking to one another or messing around, i stop talking and stand there.

    this sometimes gets a reaction from them as to them thinking "why isnt he saying anything" and they tend to stop talking and look at me to see whats going on.

    Give certain players more ownership like what would they like to do, can they set the equipment up for a certain pratice, dont always choose the same individual and try to get them to work in pairs, good cop bad cop.

    as pete says about getting parents on board, try to explain that whilst you want to coach for the maximum time and for all the parents/players to get thier moneys worth.due to the messing around, talking etc your only coaching for this certain amount of time.

    Ive just dropped down to u8's from u16's

    ive found that i really have to invest more time into just chatting to them, we had about a 15 minute chat about what other sports they play why they like them what simalarities are there to football, but i know they will invest their time back eventually because they see me showing interest in them

    but still remember they are still only 8yrs old and really excited to be there 

    all the best 


  • Hi Lee.

    I work at an independent academy and despite parents paying x amount of pounds per month, and it isn't cheap, we still encounter disruptive children. I work alongside coaches who deliver PE sessions in schools and their insight and expertise in this area has been invaluable. 

    The single biggest lesson I have learned from these guys is to jump on that behaviour straight away, or it sets the the tone for the shole session.

    If you have had to call out the same person 4 or 5 times in a session then you have every right to speak to their parents.

    Being the eternal student I also looked at myself in these moments. My challenge to you Lee, as was given to me, is can you deliver your message in 60 seconds and get the ball rolling. The other question I would ask is what is the player's preferred learning style? Try visual aids to get a message across, whiteboards, cones or bibs on the ground, get this player to be your muse and demonstrate your drills or ideas.

    Feel free to contact me for anything further.