‘Positive coaching’ in kids sport. ABC 92.5 FM radio segment Friday 27/7/18: 8:30 am.

In this blog post I lay out my thinking as I prepare for a local ABC 92.5 FM radio segment.

‘Positive coaching’ in kids sport. ABC local ABC 92.5 FM radio segment Friday 27/7/18: 8:30 am.

About James:

James Cummins is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist, sports coach and founder of The Positivity Project. 

He designs and delivers positive education and wellbeing presentations and programs to whole school communities & sports teams.

He works with The READClinic & has been coaching school boy rugby for over 20 years and practices ‘Positive Coaching’! 

With Saturday sport looming, today we will be discussing ‘Positive Coaching’ & the 

NSW Sport & Rec initiative designed to improve positive behaviour by parents, spectators and coaches involved in kids sports #Shooshforkids.

But first What is positive coaching?

It is a style of coaching where ‘wellbeing’ is at the heart of everything we do. We promote the process and practice of nourishing kids through sport. 

James uses positive psychology principles of enabling wellbeing, mindfulness, character strength spotting, positive communication & focus on process not outcome to set up a nurturing environment for kids and older athletes to enjoy, play and & learn.

To be totally awesome it requires teams, coaches, parents and supporters to participate. 

Maybe this is the key to effective & positive support of sport.

The key is spectator participation in a positive way. 

How does James practice Positive Coaching?

1. First things first! 

Set the intention with mindfulness. I practice this and as a coach, I can teach and role model it with authenticity. This way I am mindful in my thought, movements and actions. 

2. Be mindful as to ‘why’ you coach. Understand your ‘why’, your motivation behind your desire to coach. Self awareness and understanding as a coach is crucial for awesome coaching, driving your enthusiasm and energy on your coaching journey.

3. Investigate the ‘how’ and ‘what’ you coach.  Understanding the game, philosophy, skills, moves, attitudes and rules are important.

4. Communicate a positive manner, to all members of the sporting family. (Players, coaches, administrators, family & spectators).

5. Reflection is an awesome skill and tool to enable positive coaching. Setting time to think and sit with your experiences as a coach will enable better coaching in the future. The use of video with sound is a top tool to enable improvements in coaches and players. Use a coaches journal to record your reflections, this kinaesthetic link between thinking and writing unleashes learning, problem solving and celebrating coaching process wins.


  1. Mindfulness 
  2. Connection
  3. Spot strengths in kids and parents 
  4. Positive Communication 
  5. Keep it simple & reflect 

Benefits of Positive Coaching:

Everyone  (sports family: players, parents, supporters and coaches) can thrive! 

What is Shoosh for kids?

NSW sport & rec initiative designed to improve positive behaviour by parents, spectators and coaches involved in kids sports

Shoosh for kids is a NSW sport and rec initiative aimed at promoting positive behaviour at kids sports.

It targets five broad points to help promote positive behaviour in kids sport:

  1. If your comment is negative, then SHOOSH!
  2. If your negative comment is directed at a child, then SHOOSH!
  3. If your negative comment is directed at an official, then SHOOSH!
  4. Reward good work with applause; if you can’t then SHOOSH!
  5. Show respect to kids and officials. Remember, sport should be fun!

Why do we need this? 

The shadow side of passionate parents, supporters and coaches is too much pressure and unrealistic expectations on kids playing sport.

If the reason why kids play sport is ‘fun’ then this has t be supported on and off the sports arena.

Kids sport ( and all sport) provides so many positive opportunities such as ‘having fun’, social connections (belonging through a tribe), making friends, improving communication and decision making skills, learning new skills, skill mastery, performing and becoming fitter and stronger. 

To enable kids who want to keep playing sport, positive behaviour by parents, supporters and coaches will enable this. 

With the  #shooshforkids initiative and the rising wave if ‘positive coaching’ principles we can all love our Saturday sport!


Junior sport: Forget about winning, just let the kids play – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)


Coaching children : Participating in Sport : Australian Sports Commission

Three of my favourite things!

At a recent Early Childhood Educators conference I was asked to prepare a keynote on the following theme:

How to use mindfulness, play and movement to enable resilience and improve wellbeing in children.

Please enjoy the framework of this presentation.


1. Accredited Exercise Physiologist & Scientist providing clinical exercise and behaviour change interventions for children with chronic health conditions
2. Teacher and sports coach for children
3. Positive Education & Wellbeing program provider for children & school communities

Intention: Today I want to discuss and demonstrate three skills children and adults can learn, practice and master to enhance levels of wellbeing and resilience.

These skills are:

1. Mindfulness

2. Play

3. Movement

Examples from the following sources will be used to illustrate the teaching of Mindfulness, Play and Movement skills.

The Optimistic Child Prof Martin Seligman
Smiling Mind,
Meditation Capsules, by Janet Etty-Leal,
Mindfulness by Mark Williams and Danny Penman
The Yes Brain Child by Dr Daniel J Siegal and Dr Tina Payne Bryson

GRIT Angela Duckworth

Rock and Water Freerk Ykema, Montesorri, Reggio Emilia, Dr Stuart Shanker

Question: What is it you want most for your children and the children in your care?
Question: Why do you want this?
Question: How do you provide these goals, opportunities or experience in your unique educational settings or family?

Final thought:

Teachers are leaders and to become a leader, one must teach…

Adding colour, exercise and collaboration to community wellbeing!

Here is an example of a collaborative approach to a Positive Education & Wellbeing program creating positive change in the local community.

 Tackling Mental Health with Salt Water Therapy, Surfing & Fluro

 Locals go Fluro on Friday! One Wave Tribe Leaders James Cummins and Keiran O’Doherty are pumped to be facilitating the first ever Fluro Friday at Avoca Beach.

 So what is Fluro Friday and why dress up? 

Local surfer and Coastal Surf Magazine publisher, Kieran O’Doherty is collaborating with James Cummins (Accredited Exercise Physiologist) of The Positivity Project to be the One Wave Tribe Leaders of the Central Coast.

Fluro Friday will launch on  at Avoca Beach 6:30 am and everyone is welcome.

Non-Profit Surf community OneWave is launching Fluro Friday events at Avoca Beach to raise awareness and start much needed conversations around mental health.

OneWave is a non-profit surf community tackling mental health issues with a simple recipe…saltwater therapy, surfing and Fluro.

OneWave’s vision is to give people hope they can beat mental health issues by creating a supportive community connected by the ocean. It doesn’t matter if you’re riding wave for the first or the hundredth time…you never forget that feeling of being on a wave and letting everything go. OneWave is all it takes.

OneWave is well known for their Fluro Fridays, a creative initiative that has spread world-wide, raising awareness for mental health by surfing in Fluro to draw attention and getting people talking about mental health, a topic which is normally avoided.

New Zealand born OneWave founder Grant Trebilco said

“When I was diagnosed with bipolar 5 years ago, it was surfing with my family and my mates that helped me the most. Sometimes one wave really is all it takes. I want anyone experiencing mental health issues to have the opportunity to experience how good feels to get in the ocean and catch a wave”

OneWave holds weekly Fluro Friday sunrise sessions to raise awareness for mental health. We dress up in the brightest outfits possible and surf/swim/do yoga. Fluro makes people smile and it gets people asking important questions, which are normally avoided about mental health. Everyone is welcome and it’s a free event.

In four years OneWave, has gone Global, raising awareness and reducing social stigmas around mental health issues through their Fluro Friday sunrise sessions. It started at Bondi Beach, Australia, it has since gone viral with Fluro Friday sessions held at more than 100 beaches globally, as far as California, Hawaii, Mexico, New Zealand, Bali, India, Samoa and Fiji.

It is estimated that approximately 450 million people worldwide have a mental health problem. (World Health Organisation, 2001)

OneWave is normalising mental health issues by helping people understand they are not alone and that it’s ok not to be ok. After all, mental health is real, so let’s talk about it.

For Images, interviews or further information please contact James Cummins on 0413 107 434


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