Six Tips for Coaching a Run Club for Kids
By Catherine Morris
Do you lead a kids running program at your school as PE teacher or coach? Do your students run laps? Looking for tips on how to coach kids? Whether in youth running or any other sport, a great coach helps kids unlock their potential and find their inner athlete. These principles are reflected in the Marathon Kids program, which was designed to get kids moving and set them on the path toward a lifetime of good health.
But how can a good youth running coach help kids find that path? It’s all about supporting them. It’s important to cheer them on as you model the skills you’re teaching.
The evidence-based Marathon Kids program is built on six core pillars that any coach can use to up their game. Based on those pillars, here are six tips for coaching a kids running program or any other sport:
1. Guide kids in setting goals and working toward them, one step at a time.
This is all about helping kids develop a growth mindset. Setting goals both big and small, and then working toward them steadily at their own pace, teaches kids they can achieve more than they ever thought possible. Be sure to reinforce that their individual effort contributes to the team goal to help create a positive environment where they feel a sense of belonging.
2. Track kids’ running progress to keep them motivated.
Logging kids’ miles and tracking their active time in your youth running program helps them see gains—even minor ones—they make over time. This keeps them motivated and engaged, and always pushing toward that next milestone.
3. Modeling the way for kids.
Part of being a great coach for kids is recognizing that kids are looking to you as an example of what they could become, with a little effort. Coaches are role models who inspire kids to build new, healthy habits in their lives. Maintaining a positive attitude and practicing resilience are just two ways coaches can support kids in developing as athletes.
4. Give kids social support in a nurturing environment.
The rising youth inactivity trend shows that moving their bodies is becoming less of a priority among our nation’s kids. One way to reverse that trend? Get moving together. Running, walking and other physical activity is always more fun when you feel the support of others.
5. Celebrate kids’ milestones, big and small!
Everyone loves being acknowledged for their hard work and achievements, and kids are no different! Big cheers and high-fives go a long way toward building a lasting foundation of physical activity and good health.
6. Recognize kids’ hard work and reward their effort.
Coaches know the benefits of consistent physical activity are intrinsic—yet kids respond to rewards for their hard work. Seeing their name at the top of the leaderboard, earning a new sticker for a milestone they achieved, and hearing their name announced—any type of consistent, positive recognition fuels them to keep striving for that next milestone.
These six tips for coaching a youth run club, are the evidence-based pillars of Marathon Kids. They are the foundation of our programming whether implemented at a school, a community organization, or as an afterschool program.
Are you ready to coach a Marathon Kids run club? If you’re interested in being a champion for health in your community, register to coach with Marathon Kids today!
Become a Marathon Kids Coach Today!