Coaching children with trauma

Posted on Oct 02 2023

Recognising the profound role that community Basketball clubs play in nurturing the growth and resilience of young individuals, as coaches we aspire to create an environment where children, including those affected by trauma and disability, can find healing, support, and growth. As you are undoubtedly aware, community sport offers a valuable setting for children to stay connected with friends, channel their energy into healthy pursuits, and benefit from the guidance of caring adults, including coaches and club supporters.

Presently, there is a gap in the training of community sport coaches when it comes to understanding trauma and its impact on children. We believe that such a program should cater to all children within the club, fostering essential skills such as emotional regulation. This inclusivity extends to children who have experienced trauma and those with disabilities, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder.

We are delighted to announce that The Centre for Sport and Social Impact (CSSI) has secured an internal grant from La Trobe University to delve deeper into this important area. Their project has received valuable support from the Australian Childhood Foundation (ACF) trauma team, who provide invaluable assistance to children, families, carers, social workers, teachers, and professionals across Australia, including those in remote and regional areas. The ACF are committed to creating an environment dedicated to the recovery and healing of children who have experienced abuse, neglect, and family violence.

This project holds the promise of yielding invaluable insights that will empower junior coaches to support all children, especially those who have experienced trauma or have disabilities. The findings will serve as a cornerstone for the development of a future coach training module/program. Following the completion of this initial project, CSSI will actively seek additional funding to further refine and pilot the training program.

Since emotional regulation is a common challenge faced by community coaches across all of Australia, Basketball Australia are supporting this research. As a sport we will benefit from the research conducted and gain access to a summary of the results, in addition to participating in the future piloting of our training program.

If this project resonates with you please read the details below on how to be involved.

On behalf of the Centre for Sport and Social Impact (CSSI) at La Trobe University, Basketball Australia would like to extend a unique opportunity for you to be part of groundbreaking research aimed at supporting coaches and making a profound impact on the lives of young athletes. We all know community sport clubs are essential for children’s growth, offering friendship, physical activity, and mentorship. But we need your help to understand the challenges you face in coaching children and young people and managing emotional behaviours; how important these issues are to address; and how easy or hard they may be to overcome.

Supported by the Australian Childhood Foundation (, CSSI and Basketball Australia we aspire to create an environment where children, including those affected by trauma and disability, can find healing, support, and growth.

If you:
• Are aged 18 years or older,
• Coach junior sport participants aged 17 years and younger, and
• Want to contribute to the well-being of young athletes,
CSSI would like to hear from you. Coaches who take part in the research will be provided with a $50 Coles Digital Gift Card for their time. To register your interest click here

Interested coaches will be asked to provide their contact details by COB Friday October 13. Coaches will then be invited to take part in two research activities completed online, a total time commitment of one hour during October/November:
1. Brainstorming (open for 10 days in which you submit your ideas/statements in response to: In my experience in being a community sport coach, I have found it difficult to manage the emotional behaviours of children and young people, because…….You will be sent the link to access on Monday October 16.
2. Sorting and rating of statements (again open for 10 days to complete). You will be sent the link to access on Monday November 6.

You do not need to have any experience or knowledge around trauma or complex behaviours to take part in this study. You may or may not know if children or young people in your participant group have been impacted by trauma. However, you may recognise complex behaviours or other behaviours that indicate a child or young person has been impacted by trauma such as retreating from the group, disengagement, lashing out, or having trouble concentrating.

The participant information can be found in the survey link. If you have any additional questions regarding the research, please contact Kiera Staley ( or Erica Randle (

Thank you for commitment to shaping the future of coaching and contributing to the well-being of young athletes.

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