Sideline mentoring

Overheard at a youth tournament recently between parent and player: "You've played great in defence, how about getting the ball and scoring a try?

The beauty of playing in a team is that you don't need to do it all or be everything to anyone. We all have our role to play; contributions are made in many forms.

Without defence, there's fewer opportunities in attack. Without followers, there's no need for leaders. If we don't make mistakes or lose games, we don't pick ourselves up and discover a different way. Whether we win or lose, we learn how to persist and make sacrifices. Without discipline, it's difficult to control our words, emotions, and body. Through coaching and mentoring, we learn how to respond to the pressure. When we connect as a team, rather than a group of individuals, success is sweeter and we cross it's path more often.

These lessons are more important than the final score or an individual crossing the try line. That player's defence at the youth tournament stopped more points against the team than one person would have scored.

As mentors, we need to choose our words with compassion during games and acknowledge the efforts post match, regardless of the final score. Life is more than two halves or four quarters.

Let Kids Be Kids is a fantastic initiative to help improve sideline behaviour at junior sporting events in Australia.

Dean Mumm, LKBK campaign supporter and Australian Rugby Union player, shares this insight for mentors on the sideline:

"It’s not about you. The win’s not yours."

There are some great resources on the website, including detailed case studies, strategies, and initiatives you could adopt to help improve sideline behaviour at your club.

How will you lead by example as a mentor on the sidelines this season?


Melissa Shadforth