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How to get girls to listen

I am coaching an U13s team and at training i am struggling to get them to listen and stop mucking around. Any ideas i can try?


Oh the fun of the the young teenager!  there are a number of ways to get them to listen.  It will depend on what type of coaching stategy you wish to use.  Just remember that whatever consequences you give you MUST follow through with them, so make sure they are reasonable and fair.

The first point of call no matter which way you wish to go is to sit the girls down and tell them that their current behaviour is not ok, and will no longer be tolerated.  then lay down your expectations.

You can do this by always keeping them moving when they dont listen to you or muck up.  If they do then send them for a run as a team.  one person mucks up, the team goes for a run.  peer pressure might help pull them into line.

Remprimand or punish individuals for their behaviour. ie i had a couple of players watching other kids train while i was explaining a drill.  I politiely asked the player if she would like to go and sit and watch that team train, which she said she did not.  if she had repeated the behaviour i would have take her over to that team, and sat her down (prob for around 5mins to start with) while her team continued to train without her.  As this behaviour repeated itself with another player, i gave them a short lecture about the fact i was giving them the gift of my time, and they should be a lot more appreciative of this.

Stop talking and stand with your arms crossed til the talking or behaviour stops.  Maybe ask the player/s if they would like to take the coaching session considering how much they have to say, or how little they wish to listen to you. 

Signing behavioural contracts spelling out what the expected behaviour you wish to instil, and the consequences to their choices.  ie no or limited game time, more running exercises, burpees ect...

Maybe your drills are not challenging or interesting enough to hold their attention.  so have a look at your program and if there are areas that you can work on, then make those changes.

Are you trying to be their friend more than their coach?  this is a common issue (particularly if you are young or inexperienced coach).  You can be supportive and understanding of their problems or issues, but you are not there to be their friends.  So if you need help adjusting your style in this area, go and watch coaches you respect and see what adjustments you can make.  

Get a coaching mentor to help you.  They will be able to help identify areas where you could improve on.

You could use a combination of these, or work down the list to see what works best for you.

Good luck.  And remember...people treat you the way you allow them to treat you.  So make them treat you the way you want to be treated!  they are damn lucky to have you as a coach, so you make sure they know that.  Have fun.

It is hard be uses one of the players i coach is my daughter and if I get cross with my U13 team she tells me to shush as she's worried about the flak she may get from her team mates at school following training if I've told my team off too much. The kids need to want to learn new things. My team is about 50/50. Some are there to learn and others just there for socializing. Very hard not to blow a fuse sometimes. 

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I've been where you're at.....

There are some great suggestions from Lee-anne.  A few other things I like to keep in mind

  • try to make sure the kids aren't lined up waiting to take part in a drill.  Waiting around for their turn gives the kids lots of opportunities to natter
  • divide and conquer.....there's usually a couple of girls that the others look to to take the lead in behaviour, enthusiasm, response times etc.  Separate them by having them do different drills and that will save some grief.   
  • I asked my kids to contribute to the training session by coming up with some set plays.....they loved the challenge and responsibility.
  • go through your behaviour expectations and if they still aren't delightful, then focus your attention on the girls who are doing the right thing.

Hope that helps and good luck.

Pia im a strict coach and use to coach my daughters teams, and she had to learn to deal with the whole thing.  you do need to find out what the teams goal for their team is.  if its just social then make sure they are having fun as well as learning, if its more competitive, then drills arent always fun, they can be hard, and difficult to learn, and more so if the team is mucking around.  but it still has to be delivered in a way that makes them interested.  coaching can be really tough at time.  for me the best way is to sit the girls down and talk about whats going on and why they are mucking around.  it might be you too that needs to change tact to get them to want to train, as well as them acknowledging and respecting that you are giving up your free time to coach them.  most kids dont realise this part, so maybe explain to them that you are all making sacrafices to be there, just so they can play a sport you love.


Maybe you could try making the sessions a bit more fun

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  • or access our tried and tested plans