Exploring sport coaching and psychology
Exploring sport coaching and psychology

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

3 What does excellent child coaching look like?

Whatever the situation, whether at grassroots or elite sporting levels, if you are interested in sport, it is worthwhile knowing what excellent childhood coaching looks like.

Activity 3 The magic of a holistic tennis coach

Timing: Allow about 25 minutes

Justin Cahill is a qualified Physical Education teacher from the USA with over two decades of experience. Read his blog post 10 keys to unlock your coaching potential [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] , based on watching a tennis coach (Coach Z) in action with his own children. What does Coach Z do that warrants him being described as ‘inspiring’ and ‘special’ by Cahill?


He seems to be special due to his holistic approach in trying to develop the whole person, not just the aspiring tennis player. He is teaching character (respect for societal rules, integrity and empathy for others), connection (positive bonds with people in sport), compassion and confidence whilst also providing challenges for the young people to rise to. The inspiring aspect is perhaps due to a magical combination of enthusiasm, knowledge and a caring approach. Perhaps if all coaches were able to be so effective, more children might maintain their zest for sport. This mirrors UK Coaching’s ‘C’ system.

The question of how this approach might also be applied to other sport is interesting. How can coaching young people for success avoid becoming too serious and maintain their youthful enthusiasm?

Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has 50 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to University-level study, we offer two introductory routes to our qualifications. You could either choose to start with an Access module, or a module which allows you to count your previous learning towards an Open University qualification. Read our guide on Where to take your learning next for more information.

Not ready for formal University study? Then browse over 1000 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus371