Session #4 Workshops

Workshop 1:

Coaches Engaging Parents Positively


Daniel Gould, PhD.

Director, Institute for the Study of Youth Sports

Professor, Department of Kinesiology, Michigan State University


Outline of Workshop:


Successful youth sport coaches learn how to positively interact with their players’ parents and avert problems by educating and communicating with parents from their day their child joins a team. This workshop is designed to provide coaches with the knowledge and resources to positively engage parents in the youth sports experience. Strategies for dealing with difficult parents will also be discussed. 

Key Learning Points and Content

Participants will learn to view sport parents as coaching resources versus coaching distractors, the stressors sport parents experience, what sport parent behaviours are associated with optimal versus suboptimal child and athletic development, the dos (e.g., limit the number of conversations about your child’s sport) and don'ts (e.g., put the opponent down to make your child feel good) of sport parenting and the importance of educating their athletes parents. The notion of optimal parent push and ways to deal with difficult or high maintenance sport parents will be presented and discussed.

What the Learns Will Do

Learners will work in small groups to address sport parent issues commonly confronted by youth sport coaches and identify what should be included in sport parent educational efforts. The instructor will facilitate discussions and provide mini-lectures to clarify useful strategies for positively engaging parents in the youth sports experience. 

On the web

Twitter: @YouthSportsMSU



Gould, D. (2013). Effective education and development of youth sport coaches. President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition Research Digest, 14(4), 1-10.

Gould, D. (2016). Quality coaching counts. Phi DeltaKappan, 97(8), 13-28.

Gould, D., & Nalepa, J. (2016). Mental development of the young player. In Colvin, A. C., & Galdstone J. N. (eds.) The young tennis player: Injury prevention and treatment (pp.37-53). NY: Springer.

Knight, C. J., Harwood, C. G., & Gould, D. (2018) (Eds.). Sport psychology for young athletes. NY: Routledge

Workshop 2:

Success is not Equal to Winning – applying a child centered philosophy in children’s sport


Pat Culhane and Dr Con Burns

Outline of the Workshop:


The aim of this classroom-based workshop is to provoke consideration around the development of Coaching Philosophies among coaching practitioners. The workshops are particularly suited to sport Coaches of children aged 5-12 years – both for those developing a Coaching Philosophy for the first time and those seeking to refine their current philosophies.

The workshop intends to challenge common, and often superficial, perceptions around what success looks like and why we coach children sports. Through a blend of presentation and participant discussion, it is hoped to shed some light on the differences between children’s and adults’ motivations to participate in sport and what the meaning of success is, at its deepest level, to both an individual and a collective basis. Central to this will be the facilitation of participants’ critical self-reflection of their coaching practice through the sharing of related experiences.


Key Learning Points: 

·       Understand the basic concept of what a Coaching Philosophy is.

·       Think about how Coaches develop a Coaching Philosophy.

·       Consider why Coaches should develop a Coaching Philosophy.

Workshop 3:

Skill Acquisition for Children – Learning the Fundamentals of Movement


Dr Phil Kearney

Outline of the Workshop:


Through a range of practical activities, this session will empower coaches to apply core principles of skill acquisition in their practice to facilitate children’s learning and retention in sport.

Key learning points

·      Children’s learning may be enhanced by considering what the coach does, what the learner does, and how the broader club environment is structured.

·      Movement variability is a valuable resource for coaches to exploit to enhance learning and motivation.

·      Using variability to develop children as competent movers also offers opportunities to develop children as skilful learners.

Key Content

Practical strategies to incorporate movement variability into fundamental movement skill practices to enhance learning and motivation.

What the learners will do during the workshop (applied and/or practical)

Phil will first guide attendees through a framework to encourage movement pattern variability using one exemplar fundamental movement skill. Subsequently, attendees will work in small groups to apply the framework to an additional fundamental movement skill of their choosing. Attendees will then be challenged to progress their activities beyond developing competence in one skill to helping their charges to learnhow to learn. Finally, coaches will reflect on how their broader club environment supports their practice as coaches. And we’ll have some fun along the way.

On the web

Twitter: @kearney_phil, @MSAIreland


Workshop 4:

Coaching Fundamentals of Movement and Fundamental Movement Skills to Children aged 5-9 years


Owen Mooney

Aim:Practically guide coaches to help develop the FUNdamentals of Movement & FUNdamental Movement Skills for children using a variety methods.

Key Learning Objectives:

1) Develop a series of progressions within a session to show how the coaches can pitch the session and take it to the next level and in a similar manner

2) Understand the importance of Questioning, Free Play, Problem Solving and Creativity for the overall learning experience of the child and also the coach.

3) Be able to create stimulating FUN opportunities within the activities to improve decision making, team work, creativity and learning. 

Key Content:During this interactive practical workshop I will be using my experiences as a coach and coach educator to show how coaches, parents and all adults should trust children for their own learning and development. I will incorporate different learning aids, equipment, coaching styles and tools that work extremely well in engaging children during my coaching. 

Note:We are the facilitators for the child’s learning and develop. It is vitally important that we as adults allow each child to have the freedom to express themselves when it comes to their learning and development because learning is FUN. Children need to be treated like children and by facilitating a child’s imagination and creativity we are opening up a whole new learning experience for ourselves as coaches, as well as the children.

On the web

Twitter: @MooneyOwen

Facebook: Owen Mooney

LinkedIn: MooneyOwen

Instagram: @MooneyOwen



Workshop 5:

GymAble & the Young Athlete Programme


Aimi Baker, Clare Sheehan


Gymnastics Ireland GymABLE - an inclusive programme targeted at providing gymnastics opportunities for people with disabilities

Aim:The aim of the Gymnastics Ireland GymABLE Programme is to provide gymnastic opportunities for people with disabilities. As well as providing opportunities to take part in our National Events, GymABLE supports and motivates clubs to drive and develop their own Disability Gymnastics programmes. 

Key Leaning Points:

-       What the GymABLE programme is about

-       How Gymnastic Ireland clubs are developing their programmes

-       How gymnastics can benefit children with disabilities

-       How to get involved

What Learners will do: The workshop will be a combination of theory and applied and will follow on from the Young Athlete Presentation from Special Olympics (PART 1)

-       A brief description of the programme will be delivered, followed by a practical demonstration of the programme. The aim is to have participants involved in the demonstration. Leaners will get the opportunity to watch and try some gymnastic activities that have been adapted for children with disabilities, led by a disability gymnastics coach and supported by Limerick Special Olympic Athletes.

-       The skills demonstrated will aim to show a natural progression from the fundamental movement skills in the Special Olympic Young Athlete Programme to more Gymnastic Specific skills for children with disabilities.

Note:Learners need to be suitably dressed to be active participants

On the web

Aimi Baker, Clare Sheehan


Geraldine McTavish

Title: Special Olympics Ireland –Young Athletes Programme

The aim of Young Athletes is to establish a programme of play and sport activity for children with intellectual disabilities from 4 – 7 years.

It introduces children to a wide range of play activities in a familiar, supportive and fun environment and introduces the fundamental movement skills such as throwing, catching, jumping and balancing. 

The benefits of physical activity are well known and the benefits of the Young Athletes Programme go far beyond play and sport.

  • helps children learn how to communicate and interact with each other 

  • promotes the development of learning and self-help skills

  • introduces children and their parent's to the Special Olympics and a support network

  • prepares children for joining a Special Olympics Club in the future

  • fosters an interest in sport and physical activity

The workshop will be a combination of theory and applied. A brief description of the programme will be delivered followed by a practical demonstration of the programme. The aim is to have participants involved in the demonstration.

The outcome of the session will be to demonstrate how to deliver a session for Young Athletes. It will also highlight how the programme leads to fostering future involvement into structured sport and physical activity by enhancing athletes’ fundamental movement skills and developing confidence.

On the web

Geraldine McTavish

Twitter: @soireland


Other: Instagram @specialolympicsireland

Adrian Byrne