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Play Their Way Podcast

Dive into child-first coaching with The Play Their Way Podcast! If you're a coach passionate about young lives, this is for you.

Join Laura-Jane Jones as she explores the core of coaching children and young people: voice, choice, and journey.

Expert guests share their top coaching strategies, best practices, and philosophies focused on children's unique paths. Tune in and delve into how to empower their individual voice, respect their choices, and guide their journeys, cultivating a deep passion for sport and physical activity, while helping them reach their full potential.

Watch on YouTube below , or listen, follow and subscribe on these popular podcast platform.

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Episode 1

"We play sport, we don't sport sports" - Eugene Minogue on the danger of 'sportising' children

Join host Laura-Jane Jones and guest Eugene Minogue, the visionary behind 'Know Ball Games' and a stalwart advocate for children's play.

Dive deep into the shift in play culture over generations and discover as a coach how you can champion free play.

From his days at Parkour UK to his impactful leadership at Play England, Eugene shares invaluable insights on nurturing children and young people’s love for sport and physical activity, and how YOU can be the change.

Tune in, inspire, and let children #PlayTheirWay!

Episode 2

"Do not put what you think sport should look like on young people” – Danielle 'Nolli' Waterman on preserving the essence of child-driven play

Danielle 'Nolli' Waterman, an icon of England Rugby, invites listeners on a nostalgic journey back to the essence of child-driven play. 

Reflecting on her own childhood, the guidance of pivotal mentors, her storied sporting journey, and coaching experiences, Nolli emphasises the profound role of free play, exploration, and creativity. Chatting with host Laura-Jane Jones, delve into the lessons and memories that shaped Nolli's unique perspective. Listen as this seasoned player-turned-coach unveils insights on nurturing natural passion in young people and guiding them to authentically #PlayTheirWay!

Episode 3

"Children will always surprise you" – Professor Laura Lundy on the unparalleled insights of young voices.

Journey into the heart of children's rights with Laura-Jane Jones and Professor Laura Lundy, celebrated for her internationally acclaimed Lundy Model and her work with organisations like the UN and UNICEF. 

Tune in for practical tips and strategies every coach needs to truly empower and engage young people. Learn how, by respecting their rights – from giving them a voice and seeking their opinions to allowing them to lead sessions – you can enhance the sporting experience. Through Laura’s insights, discover the power of genuinely letting every child #PlayTheirWay!

Episode 4

“For 99% of kids, it's not about helping them become an athlete, but a better person” – Nick Levett on leaving a lasting impact

Tune in to a must-listen episode with Nick Levett, a grassroots football coach who understands that coaching is more than just shaping athletes – it's about nurturing better individuals. Boasting over 25 years of experience with roles such as 'National Manager for Youth Football' at the FA, Head of Coaching at UK Coaching, and positions at a Premier League club, Nick's journey is rich with insights.

Join Laura-Jane Jones in this captivating episode as Nick delves into co-creating with children, involving parents, and the magic of rolling out engaging games. Invaluable for children's coaches from all sports, it’s packed with practical tips to make sessions more enjoyable and ensure children can't wait to come back for more. Coaches, immerse yourself in a mix of hands-on experience and strategies, ensuring every child gets to #PlayTheirWay!

Episode 5

“One of the kids asked for more crocodiles in the session” – Sion Kitson on embracing children’s creativity in sport

Join Laura-Jane Jones in conversation with Sion Kitson, a pivotal figure at England Hockey and a driving force at England Futsal.

As one of the most passionate grassroots supporters of our campaign, Sion shares his coaching tales of what happens when you embrace children’s creativity, the profound impact of the child-first philosophy, and the importance of the Play Their Way community.

For coaches keen to amplify their impact, this episode offers a lens into a world where children lead, learn, and passionately #PlayTheirWay!

Episode 6

“Young people are the experts in our own needs” – Jemima Browning on truly inclusive coaching

Join Laura-Jane Jones in conversation with Jemima Browning, an inspirational young coach and disability advocate. Jemima has served on the Youth Sport Trust’s Youth Board and received the Diana Award.

Jemima shares her story of founding the Tadcaster Stingrays, having seen the lack of opportunities for her brother Will, who has Downs Syndrome. This episode is packed with personal experience and thought-provoking advice on how to champion every young person’s needs and experiences in sport and physical activity by respecting them as the experts on themselves.

For coaches who are keen to create truly inclusive environments for children, this episode offers a roadmap to help you #PlayTheirWay!

Episode 7

“Being kind isn’t a soft thing; kindness has teeth” – Justyn Price on community in coaching

Tune into a heartfelt discussion between host Laura-Jane Jones and Justyn Price, a passionate advocate for the power of sport as well as the rights and needs of children, about how kindness and community is at the heart of grassroots sport.

Justyn discusses how he came to the realisation that “we can’t be in a world where children can’t play if they want to” after his son couldn’t find a football club to join, and about his journey to setting up an inclusive, child-first club for his son and other children in the local community, The Hawks. If you want to be reminded why you got into coaching in the first place, this is for you!

Episode 8

“It's about giving young people free time, so they can just breathe” – Michael Pusey MBE (CK Flash) on the importance of free play in sporting environments

Join Laura-Jane Jones in conversation with Michael Pusey MBE (CK Flash), Head Coach at Peckham BMX Club who was awarded by the Queen of England in 2018 a MBE for his contribution to youth sport.

CK talks about the importance of free play in sporting environments, of treating each young person as an individual and connecting with young people through fun and playfulness. 

For coaches keen to connect with diverse groups of young people, this episode offers a rousing call to build bridges and #PlayTheirWay.

Episode 9

“All the best games are designed by children” – David Baird on the innovation of co-creation


Join host Laura-Jane Jones and coach David Baird for a passionate discussion about children’s creativity and how coaches can work with young people to foster an environment of innovation and fun.

David is an experienced coach who is passionate about children’s growth and participation, so much so that he created a concept and penned a book called Scoreboard Soccer, which is a way to engage children in football through games which can be co-created or invented by children and young people. 

If you’re looking for new ways to encourage children to take the lead in their own play, this is a great place to start.

Episode 10

I have this alternate life where I see myself as an athlete ” – Zoya Zia on why representation and intersectionality matter in child-first coaching

Dive into a conversation on inclusivity and intersectionality in children’s sport with Zoya Zia and host Laura-Jane Jones. Zoya discusses how to listen to young people’s voices and act on their wishes in meaningful ways, how to start when it comes to understanding and embedding children’s rights in coaching, and the long-term impact of positive (and negative) early experiences in sport and physical exercise – including her personal story.

Zoya is the Senior Impact and Evaluation Officer at Chance to Shine, one of the members of the Children’s Coaching Collaborative (17 organisations which drive the Play Their Way movement). Originally from Pakistan and Texas, Zoya has found her place in between. She has an MSc Human Rights and Politics from the London School of Economics, and is interested in the relationship between sport and children's rights worldwide.

If you want to #PlayTheirWay for every child, this episode offers a glimpse into a more inclusive, hopeful future for children’s coaching.

Episode 11

If you just guess what a young person needs, it can have a devastating impact– Poppy and Samuela from UNICEF UK’s Youth Board on the value of young voices

Join Poppy and Samuela (known as Sam) in conversation with host Laura-Jane Jones about serving on UNICEF UK’s Youth Advisory Board, as well as the potential and power of championing young people’s voices in sport and physical activity.

Poppy is a 16-year-old from Fife, with a passion for young people’s mental and physical health and education, as well as upholding the best interests of children. Samuela is 18 years old, with a focus on social issues from mental health to homelessness, and a drive to be the change she wants to see in the world.

If you’re a coach curious about what young people want and need from you in sport, this episode will help you #PlayTheirWay.

Episode 12

“Play can be a dirty word” – Stuart Armstrong on perceptions of play and the creation of the Children’s Coaching Collaborative

Two hosts come together in this episode of the Play Their Way Podcast, as our host Laura-Jane Jones is joined by host of the Talent Equation Podcast, Stuart Armstrong!

Join them for a discussion on how the perception of children’s play has transformed in our society over the past few generations, the role of the coach in child-first coaching and the creation of the Children’s Coaching Collaborative, 17 charities and organisations driving the Play Their Way movement.  

Stuart is the Strategic Lead for Coaching and Workforce Transformation, who still finds time to coach at a grassroots level and host The Talent Equation. He is a vocal advocate for child-first coaching and has been a crucial driver of the Play Their Way campaign.

If you want to understand both the origin and the future of the #PlayTheirWay movement, this episode is for you!

Episode 13

“Now I’ve got 100 voices coming at me, and it’s beautiful” – Nicky Harverson on helping young people find their own voices in sport

Join host Laura-Jane Jones and this week’s guest, Nicky Harverson for an impassioned conversation about the joy of play and how to help children and young people find their voice in sport and physical activity. 

Nicky is a Physical Activity Specialist (Strategic Lead for Children and Young People) at Active Lives Gloucestershire as well as a cycling coach and Coach Developer. Nicky is passionate about play and has recently been supporting us to launch a pilot programme to support grassroots coaches – stay tuned for more on this!

If you’re looking to up your game, this episode is packed with practical tips to help you #PlayTheirWay!

Episode 14

“You don't want to know what I think” – League Leaders on ensuring young people are heard in sport

Join us on this week's podcast with upcoming charity League Leaders and host Laura-Jane Jones as we dive into what it means to champion every child's voice, choice and journey in sport and physical activity.

We're joined by Founder and CEO of League Leaders, Paul Jenkins, as well as young leaders Adbul-Razak Rakhis and Lereece Patrick. They talk about how their positive and negative experiences of sport growing up has shaped their attitudes now, the art of working with young people and the balance of competition and play.

If you want to get inspired on how to build young leaders in sport, this episode is for you!

Episode 15

“If all they need is to talk, that's what we're here for” – Luke Carpenter on why holistic coaching is key to playing their way

Join us for the last episode of season 1 of the Play Their Way podcast, where host Laura-Jane Jones talks to Luke Carpenter about holistic coaching, keeping a positive and open attitude and coaching in deprived communities. 

Luke Carpenter is a grassroots coach at Valleys Gymnastics, which have been brilliant advocates for the Play Their Way movement. Luke also won the 2023 Community Coach of the Year for Children and Young People at the UK Coaching Awards a couple of weeks ago for his child-first approach to coaching. 

If you’re looking for first-hand experience of how to #PlayTheirWay in a holistic way, this episode is for you!

Register for FREE today for exclusive child-first coaching resources and updates.

Ready to become a part of something bigger? Register below to help us kick-start the Play Their Way movement and be welcomed into an inclusive community of coaches committed to putting the rights and motivations of children and young people first, when it comes to coaching them in sport and physical activity. 

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Help spread the word by sharing this website with fellow coaches!