In the world of coaching today there are many theories and its very quickly to be swept into an ideological theory or a certain opinion through your own experiences or from the people who inspire you in sport for example if you are a beginner coach and your influences have been instructors without much experience of working with a higher standard of development sessions you may fall into a category where you believe line drills are the way to go,or you may have spent too much time coaching a certain age group which can make you a more young child friendly coach. Every company I have worked for have had their own theories and philosophies, some have been good some rational and some have been the worst policies in a physical education session that I have ever come across but luckily for myself most have been good and some have been fantastic.The one policy that seems to link all of these companies together is maximum participation although i have seen that for some this is a phrase that is lost in translation to “its only maximum participation when it suits the coach” which is highly unacceptable.I personally believe a coach should expand their horizons and never get caught in the state of mind where they believe they know it all and wont learn anything new from accepting other cultures of coaching.Coaching is whatever you want to make of it, if you don’t put the work into creating exciting,fun and innovative sessions then you can quickly become stagnated. I have met so many coaches who have this type of arrogance who dont like constructive criticism or the idea that anyone can teach them anything they dont know and the reality is there is always someone better around each corner and people shouldnt feel threatened by this they should learn and continue their further progression and development as a coach to the benefit of the children that we teach.There are many theories and no one theory is right or completely wrong what a coach should do is pick parts that they can fit to their style and adapt them to that style and then by the end of the hand picking of techniques and policies a style of your own may start to shine through, here are a few of my policies which i believe in strongly.
Maximum participation is a very important element as it basically shows if a coach has planned a session in which every participant can be involved in and it is so easy to fall into a trap of not planning for the right amount of children and from there it is a slippery slippery slope.I f you plan a session for 16 make sure for those activities you have a plan B and plan C just in case you have more or less numbers than this.My one major problem is when i see Line drills as line drills are pointless and leaves a child waiting out for a certain amount of time, time in which he/she could be kicking a ball and is painful to watch, if a coach cant be creative enough to not bore the participants with line drills then there truly is no future for the sport. (NO PARTICIPANT SHOULD EVER BE SAT OUT JUST BECAUSE THE SESSION DOESNT ALLOW THEM TO TAKE PART)
AS MANY TOUCHES AS POSSIBLE
Thus is an important element because I feel that alot of coaching books and instructors love the sound of their voice a little too much! by this i mean they take too long to talk and not enough time letting them figure thing out for themselves at times.The more the participants touch the ball the more they have practised and the better they will be and the more the coach talks to them the less time they practise and touch the ball then the less they will learn.This sector involves all aspects of a session as there should never be an aspect of a session where they cant touch a ball for instance there should never be a warm up for young children that doesn’t involve a ball and just makes them run like headless chickens with no end principle, children learn even in warm ups. This can even be applied in water breaks and times where the coach needs a little time to set up a new practice quickly, have the children practising kick ups or bounce kick ups or in their water break why cant they be touching the ball to either foot ?
NO PUNISHMENT THROUGH EXERCISE !
There should never ever be any punishment through exercise the coach is there to teach them and they cannot learn by being used as an infantry recruit being drilled by a drill sergeant !! . All this does is drive a wedge between participant and the coach and also the parents because I can assure you there will be problems with parents if you are caught running their children into the ground. Look at other options, look at your style of coaching, look at the way its set up is the child acting up because he/she is bored? can you give them a little extra maybe make a rule or give them a refereeing option you will be surprised how much of a difference to behaviour it can make to just give a child a little more authority in a practise and by just simply making them feel special if only for a few minutes.Recently i witnessed something on a field that repulsed me, i saw a coach whose team had lost a game after being in front now bare in mind that these children were U10’s , the coach at the next training session shouted at them like they were a premier league team and military drilled them with shuttle runs for an hour and a half, those children came off that field crying and not wanting to play anymore they now associated mistakes with punishment which made them terrified to make a mistake which in the end just leads to more mistakes , as a coach DON’T MAKE THAT MISTAKE .
For me this is also very important for the safety of the children, have them from the first session know that when they arrive at the field they must go straight to you and into a pre set up warm up area or box where the balls are waiting and have it as a competition or challenge for them set up for that first week that maybe thy have to acheive three bounce juggles as they wait for the rest of the participants this keeps them busy and isolated in a certain area of the field where you are present and keeps them motivated and learning . On a number of occasions i have witnessed camps and development sessions where the kids have turned up the parent s dropped them off and they are running wild all over the field and the coach is stood doing nothing. This is extremely dangerous to have children all over the place in an age where childrens safety is at a priority in a dangerous world and plus you dont really want “little Johnny” falling out of that tree do you ?
These Four elements are just some of the policies in which i have adapted in order to progress my style, other coaches may use them in a different manner but they are an example of how I myself have hand picked certain techniques to create my own style. I would love to hear from anyone who uses any other techniques or policies and how they administer them into their session or even if you don’t agree with mine i would love to hear feedback and if anyone has any questions or ideas then feel free to leave a message and il get back to you.