He lets children find their own way
Written by R Bhavadharani; Artwork by Tanya Shroff.
This article is part of Active Parents’ Meet the Coaches series, brought to you in collaboration with Republic Polytechnic, School of Management and Communication.
Even with the current generation’s idea of gentle parenting, “no” is still a prominent word heard by children. However, Poh Yi Feng has a personal philosophy of never saying “no” or “cannot” to the children he coaches.
Yi Feng, 35, has been a Fundamental Movement Skills trainer at ActiveSG’s Nurture Kids programme since 2019 where he helps preschoolers kickstart their healthy lifestyle. As a trainer, he imparts physical literacy skills to his students and instills values like perseverance and sportsmanship.
Yi Feng spent his adolescent years playing football and represented local clubs like Balestier Khalsa and Warriors FC for 13 years. Upon retiring from his professional career in 2016, he started coaching at ActiveSG Football Academy. Recognising his passion for teaching younger children, his colleague encouraged him to join the Nurture Kids programme.
It took little to no persuasion for Yi Feng to take up the suggestion as he loves children and knew it would be a rewarding career to pass valuable skills on to the younger generation.
“I treat every little boy and girl like my son and daughter, and I want to help them be their best,” he said.
Having a son of his own gave Yi Feng an edge as a trainer. Unlike most parents, he gave his now nine-year-old son, Aiden, the freedom to make his own choices and rarely restricted him from trying things by himself - even if it was the wrong way.
“Restricting children or saying they are wrong will only make them lose interest in whatever they are doing. Just let them learn on their own,” he said.
Yi Feng guides his students with words of encouragement and provides multiple options for them to try, before deciding which method works best for them, and they usually end up discovering the correct method all by themselves.
Every time the children succeed in their movement coordination after a few failed attempts and celebrate by running and yelling, “Coach, I can do it!” Yi Feng feels grateful for joining this programme.
When asked if he sees himself doing this for the next 10 years, he said, “20 years, also can!”