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The Benefits of a Private Sports Coach for Kids

PlayBook Co-Founder and Big Bash specialist Chris Lynn was 18 when he first started working with a private sports coach to take his game to the next level after missing out on selection when he first received the Queensland Bulls rookie contract. Looking back now, Chris said it was then that he realised he had to do more to be a standout player and achieve his dream of being selected for the Bulls. 

His strategy at the time was to go out and find a personal coach to add an extra layer to his training, improve his strengths and work on his weaknesses. The rest, as they say, is history. 

Chris credits his transition from schoolboy cricketer to “master-blaster” to one-on-one training sessions with his personal and specialised coach. “It changed everything,” he said.

So many PlayBook coaches and elite Australian athletes mirror this sentiment, and consider private sports coaching with an expert in their field to be the thing that ultimately set them apart from their competition. But private sports coaching isn’t just for people who want to take their game to the next level and play professionally. There are so many benefits of private coaching, especially for kids and teens who want to build confidence, learn new skills and have fun while they play sport. After all, that’s why we started PlayBook! 

So why is it important for young people to have the opportunity to train with a private coach? 

Confidence is key 

For kids and teens, private coaching isn’t just about making rep teams and going on a pathway to play at an elite level. Fundamentally, working with a private sports coach in a one-on-one environment is about learning new skills, honing technique and building confidence. 

In a recent interview, Chris said “one-on-one coaching provides an opportunity for kids to hone their sporting abilities in a nurturing environment that builds their ability and confidence. We think confidence on the field leads to confidence off the field and that helps kids be open to participating, getting out there and playing around with their mates, no matter their skill level.” 

Time and time again we see newfound confidence on the field have an impact on other areas too, such as school work, public speaking and family life. Private sports coaching allows children to receive one-on-one attention in an environment where they are supported and heard, and where they are the top priority. It’s also an opportunity to spend time with a positive and inspiring role model and learn life skills like good sportsmanship, the value of hard work and a never give up attitude. All of this combines to give kids newfound confidence in their ability. 

“Playbook is an amazing initiative for upcoming sportsmen to come side by side with those that have accomplished much in the sport. My kids had the opportunity to have a few sessions with Chris Lynn and it has been an awesome experience. Chris is down to earth, and provides the kids with a good combination of fun and seriousness. He quickly picks up on strengths and weaknesses and works on both gradually. The biggest gain from the sessions has been confidence, which is not easy to get. I can see that confidence in the kids, and its not just in sport. Thanks Lynny!” Wasim, father of Ash and Zayaan.

Specialised, expert guidance tailored to you 

Training with a private sports coach gives kids and teens the opportunity to fast track their pathway to success, regardless of whether that means getting a goal on the weekend, being able to contribute positively to the team or being selected for a representative squad.

Private sports coaches help kids focus on what they are good at and help them learn new ways to bring their natural talent into the game and play to their strengths. They also help develop strategies on how they can improve, what they can do to reach their goals and give advice that is relevant to their skill level, position and sport. 

Chris realised that he wanted to do something extra on top of his team training sessions because he felt like 2 x 10 minute sessions in the nets weren’t enough to make him feel confident to bat all day in a game and feed his hunger to succeed. 

“Getting a private coach gave me high quality and specific training to my needs,” he said. 

Rugby Union star Ruan Smith said the expertise of a private sports coach would have been so beneficial in his transition from amateur to professional in a recent blog post for PlayBook. “One-on-one coaching will develop you a lot quicker. I think if we had it, we would have been a lot further developed at the age of 22 than what we were. At those ages where you need really technical skills you only get it from one-on-one coaching and it will make you develop a lot quicker,” he said. 

The expertise private sports coaches bring isn’t just about technique and physical performance – they also help develop game-day strategies and share their intimate knowledge and understanding of the sport and particular positions. 

Mental, emotional and psychological support is just as important 

As much as sport is about technical skills and physical ability, it’s a mental game too and young athletes need just as much support in this area. This is another benefit of working with a private sports coach in a one-on-one capacity – they can help children manage the highs and lows of playing sport and ensure they are in the right headspace when they train and play. Learning how to channel competitiveness in a positive way and how to show good sportsmanship is just as important as kicking the winning goal. 

A child can sometimes be more receptive to feedback from a private coach instead of a parent. There’s been many times that a coach has shared the same message as a Mum or Dad who helps out in a training session but the way the information is presented is different so it resonates with the child. Or maybe it’s just the fact that they’re hearing the same message from multiple people so they feel it’s more valid? Whatever the reason, a coach and a parent sharing the same messages, or a parent reiterating the messages from a coach can be a good way to help the key insights from personalised training really stick with the athlete. It’s all about feedback and support that is subjective, constructive and trusted as well as strategies and actionable steps to improve.

The competitive edge 

Learning and improving never stops, even at an elite level. In fact, Chris still works with a private coach to this day despite playing professionally for over 10 years. Why? So he always has the competitive edge when going up against other big bash specialists. 

In a recent blog post on the PlayBook Blog, former Rugby League player and PlayBook coach Dave Shillington talks about working with a private coach throughout his sporting career and the incredible value of one-on-one coaching and attention. When he was playing for the Canberra Raiders, he noticed he started to go backwards in his game and he felt sluggish on the field and not very powerful, so he engaged a speed coach. Meeting once a fortnight to focus specifically on speed, running, foot placement and how he was taking off, Dave said finding someone to help with his specific needs was so important, and had a huge impact on his career. Reflecting on his time with a private and specialised coach, he said “the rewards were pretty profound, I felt like I was performing again. Off the back of that training I was given a new contract with another club… the investment of private coaching really ignited my career and ultimately prolonged my career.”

Whether your child wants to improve their skills and have more fun or play professionally, a private sports coach can help them get there. You can search PlayBook for a private coach in your area here and the benefits of dedicated, one-on-one coaching for yourself! 

Image: Chris Lynn with Zayaan and Ash