There is no such thing as bad behaviour, there is behaviour and a response.

There is no such thing as bad behaviour! There is a need and a response.

So here we go! Its been a while and I have been working on this post for some time. Have you ever been thirsty? Well of course you have! So what did you do? You went and got a drink. Now you are reading this thinking what the heck is this person talking about! Lets frame this:

You are thirsty (a need) you meet this need by getting a drink (the behaviour) 

maslow's hierarchy of needs five stage pyramid

All behaviour that humans under take is for a need to be met (thats right you guessed it even when we get upset by the behaviour, its function is not to upset us, its to get a need met)
Image result for functions of behaviour
So this is when this situation becomes challenging. Especially as a coach on a Sunday morning when you have 30 young people waiting for a session.  

The MOST important tip I can give you is:

What ever you do, no matter how annoying or frustrating a child's behaviour is, remember this

THEY ARE STILL CHILDREN! Take a deep breath, put it into context and Never ever get into a confrontation in front of the rest of the players. 

So that is a little touch on the theory - if your interested in knowing more about behaviour then feel feel to get in touch!

Society tells us to take a taylorist approach to behaviour, unfortunately, this approach doesn't work for all children (or adults). It is important to be flexible and see the behaviour as a communication from the child even if it does not match your expectations. 

Here are our top tips for managing behaviour within your coaching sessions:

1, Create a positive environment, see the behaviour as a communication and then make a decision around what to do. For example using some positive reinforcement aimed at another pupil will always engage the child that is displaying behaviours that challenge. "Oh look child B is doing what I want, I'm going to give her team a click on my clicker" 

2, See behaviour as communication, not as "because he/she wants to misbehave" - Now don't get me wrong, I am not saying to excuse the behaviour, but look at what the behaviour is telling you and become a behaviour detective! You will need to follow your clubs policy and procedures. Being reflective here will support your practice, be prepared to challenge your ideas and perceptions of behaviour. 

3, Make a connection and change a life! The best learning happens when we really know the children we are working with. As a coach on a Sunday morning with 30 odd children running around may make this challenging. But trust me for the children to engage with your sessions, make a connection with them! know them and this will enable you to understand them better. This includes children that may have a chaotic home life. Maybe Sunday morning Rugby is the only consistent part of their life. Once you make that connection, have fun training sessions the learning of the players will take place and will be fluid. Remember children learn teachers, Not subjects. Be careful after reading this you may be thinking:

Do not fall it this trap! 

4, Have very clear boundaries and set these out at the start at the beginning of the year, write them down and hand them out at your meeting with the parents of your players. Make sure they know what your expectations are: 

1, Be on time for the sessions
2, Do your best in every session
3, Let me know if you are having a hard time
4, Be good team mates to each other.

You will have noticed that these boundaries are framed in a positive way - that is because its positive reinforcement. If we went down the line of YOU MUST NOT - you will often find that the children will do what you are not asking. Hold regular parent meetings on the sidelines - these are called conversations 😂.

5, Let the players know what is happening in the session - just tell them a list of what is going to happen. If you are working with children with a diagnosed condition (Like Autism or ADHD) you will find this helps them to know what is happening and reduces their anxiety. It is even better if you could write it down somewhere and then refer to it. This would be called a work system and in some circles its also called a list.

1, Warm up game of Rugby Netball
2, Game of Wizard touch
3, Handling exercise
4, Drink break
5, Game of Hexagon touch to finish the session.

This is all you need 👆👆👆👆👆

6, Never EVER get into a conflict with a child in front of the rest of the team. This is one of the worst things you could possible do. Firstly you potentially damage all the connections you have worked hard to achieve. Secondly, if you use an ultimatum you should expect to have to face the consequences of what happens if the child takes you to the very brink of your ultimatum. This conflict could escalate very quickly and would not be a positive situation. If the child isn't doing what you want them to do, then take a deep breath, put it into context and say: "Thats your choice, we will talk about this later". Make sure you do talk about the situation later, otherwise you are reinforcing the behaviour. 

7, Make your sessions FUN! Engaging sessions which challenge and are enjoyable will in turn have a positive effect on behaviour and this is a great piece of advise. Plan your session in advance. Make them fun and full of personal challenges. Do not be afraid to think outside the box play Swiss Ball Volleyball or Tackle Pad Jenga! Play Noughts and Crosses kicking or Pig in the Middle ruck practice. 

Number 8, is all about mistakes! If you coach from fear you will create an environment where your players won't be willing to make mistakes. If you coach from a point of care, connection and love you will find that the pupils will want to learn, will want to take risks and will enable them to be exposed to opportunities to be reflective performers. Treat every mistake as a lesson and allow the players to step into change. Have a look at the comfort zone theory for more information. 

If you can create a positive learning environment, the behaviour will look after itself. 

9, Be reflective, remember that they are children first and they are learning. They probably won't be able to perform a highly skilful move at the age of 7 unless they are able to learn and we know the best way to do this is by learning from mistakes. Do not be afraid to change and adapt your practice.

10, Catch them doing something good rather than something bad. Every child during your coaching sessions, will be doing something good. A good rule to live by is for every one "bad" behaviour you see, catch them doing three "good" behaviours. This is positive reinforcement and the players will really develop a sense of achievement and feeling of wellbeing. Most of the children in your sessions will want to be there. However if you find that there are a few children that do not want to be there, then adapt what you are offering them to meet them half way - our adaptive games are very useful and thankfully there are loads available to watch on YouTube.

So there you have it. Our Top Ten Tips for creating positive behaviour within your sessions. If you want a more in detail version of this information then please sign up to our mailing list and I will send you a copy of our ebook "The Inclusion Series" and this post (with some added extras) on PDF. Just sign up 👇👇👇👇👇👇👇

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Take your time, this will not happen over night and you should expect to implement these tips slowly and focus on one or two. Really nail them and you will be a behaviour detective!

Finally, Look at the behaviour as a communication, not as "bad behaviour" - this will enable you to really start to see why the behaviour is happening.

I hope you have enjoyed reading our post! please share away! And remember this: If they are giving you a hard time, then they are having a hard time!


The RCB Family.