In our previous post we got into the four Skill Groups of a Coach, if you have not read it you can by clicking here.
Today I want to paint a picture...You’re at your local club watching your son play. His team never loses! Once again today his team is winning. The thought crosses your mind: what a team, what a coach...this guy really knows how to make us play! The next season a local pro club takes your best two players and now your team can’t win a game. You find yourself thinking about the same coach: he really is struggling, look how poor we are as a team, I’m sure he has issues at work and he is just not thinking about our boys as much.
The reality is at youth football under the age of 13 recruitment is a major part of why teams win. The effect one super talent can have is incredible. I witnessed a team that had two future professionals in it playing at u10. They won the league. By the time that group reach high school, where talents accumulate, only three players played in the highest team in their age group. That’s 3 out of 12! You’ve already worked out that two were the future pros, the other was simply a solid A-team player at high school. All their success at lower age groups were down to two players!
It illustrates my point and means we need to have a much better idea of what the coach should be coaching. The reality is that the coach of that team quite possibly underdeveloped every one of those players, including the two stars, by focusing only on the two stars!
The obvious boxes a coach should tick all fall under the “managerial” and “motivational” quadrants.
There is a focus on safety, participation and fun
The coach teaches, models and demands respectful behavior, fairness and good sportsmanship
The coach insists on proper side-line behavior by parents
The coach is patient, stays calm and never loses his cool
The coach looks for team-building opportunities.
They looks for chances to help her players bond as an effective and cohesive team by, for example, holding team parties
The coach is sociable, empathetic and has good communication skills.
I’m sure we all recognize these traits. But at this age group environment is critical we also have a coach who really grasps and enters the “methodological” quadrant.
Do you see repetition of actions, ie striking a ball at goal (once every 2min of training min, ie 30 in 1hr)?
Does the action happen from the front, back and sides?
Is it a consistent action theme through the session?
Are they game based or competitive? All exercises should be rooted in what happens in the game and by making them competitive they push the intensity more, develop that drive to compete and make it more fun
Does the coach look at the group as one big group or as a group of individuals?Everybody is different so the coach should have a separate plan for each child.
Does the coach talk about the win or does he talk about the players that won?
As mentioned in our previous post you need to use all four quadrants at different levels in different environments. As a result there is a need to create a tactical framework for players even as young as 5. The key is not to try mimic an EPL team but rather give the players a decision making framework and allow them to create tactical solutions. As the age increases, the level of tactics go from the individual to a few groups of 2-4 to many small groups of 2-4 interacting to bigger groups of 5-7 and finally to teams of 11 (where the LTPD guides us and the players are playing to compete.)
Our next post will deal with teenage coaching at a non-elite level, which is one of the toughest to get our heads around (mainly because our standards are so low).
Until then sorry this was more than 500!