Intentionally Teaching Values In Sports Coaching Can Improve Performance

Singapore , 06 Jun 2017

During National Youth Sports Institute (NYSI) community of practice sharing session, netball coaches were introduced to the idea of intentionally teaching values to youths during sports activities and training.

Netball coaches during the community of practice sharing session at NYSI satelite. Photo: Sport Singapore


Using a structured approach to deliberately encourage and reinforce values and behaviours in sports coaching is still uncommon. And while values such as perseverance and resilience are invariably inculcated during training sessions, it is often an inadvertent by-product of training. 

“Actually, as all the coaches have mentioned, we have been doing it in all our training sessions, but we didn’t notice,” said Ong Chin Chin, netball coach of CHIJ St Nicholas Primary and Secondary Schools.

“So now, I try to make it more specific and intentional. And I realised it is good to bring it out intentionally. The girls will remember it.”

By using the Game For Life (GFL) framework that CoachSG has developed, Ong is currently trialling this novel method of teaching sports with her charges at St Nicholas. 

One key aspect of the GFL framework is for the instructor to take action to deliberately reinforce desired behaviour and values.

And she has seen positive reception from her players by using this method of positive reinforcement. 

“Last time, I would tend to just tell them the things they would be doing. But when I gave credit to positive behaviour, the girl was very happy and the team was clapping,” she said. “I realised the girls love it.”

Ng Ee Theng of CoachSG shares with netball coaches during the community of practice sharing session. Photo: Sport Singapore


While developing values and life skills in players is something that will help them for the rest of their lives, intentionally teaching these values is also something that can go hand in hand with sports coaching when developing sporting champions. 

“It definitely complements each other because you may have the skills, but if you don’t have the right behaviour, you won’t get the result you set for yourself,” said Joanne Loo, the national youth team coach.

Having been with the youth team for four years, she used to focus more on technical skills and developing physical abilities, but it changed this year with a new head coach. And the results were tremendous.

“This year… a lot of values were instilled in our trainings and games, and in their behaviour – ownership and commitment."

“In fact, this has gone way beyond our expectations and we have recently won Asian Youth Championships after 23 years.”

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