Learning to Coach

Learning to Coach

Coaching is the toughest job in any sports industry, mainly because we are dealing with human beings unlike products reaching quality control and getting a stamp of approval. It can be very rewarding when all is going well but can become a nightmare when things go wrong.  As coaches we need to find answers to the “football problems”. What is going wrong? Will be a familiar phrase.

Therefore, a good foundation in coaching knowledge developed through education and experience will hold you in good stead during stormy periods in a season.

There are five phases I want to share with coaches in learning to coach. Obviously you will realize that there is lots of work the needs to be covered to be a productive and successful coach and create learning environments.

The first is Knowledge & Understanding of the Game, the ability to coach basic techniques is essential, as well the main moments of the game because structuring the moments in teaching is crucial. Positional behavior, is vital because you should know what the roles and responsibilities of every position in relation to the systems of play and team tactical demands imposed.

The skill that you need to develop is Observation, the ability to read the game cannot and must not be underestimated. This quality cannot be find in text books but can be developed through experience. The ability to look and listen is most crucial because you will be able to see the strengths and the weaknesses. It requires concentration and look at the game from your perspective and not through the eyes of a spectator or journalist. Being focused in this area will give insight and you will identify problems.

Through observation you will be able to establish Objectives. In identifying the problems you will have ask yourself how I can solve these problems. The answers to these problems will be the objectives for the coming training sessions. Plan the objectives from simple to complex and implement them and evaluate them.

You will encounter a number of problems hence, you will have to Set Priorities. The more experience a coach gains the more soccer problems he will encounter. The wider your experience the better you will be able to prioritize. The objectives (problems) cannot be solved at once because when the season in swing there will be time restrictions. You should be able to know which of your objectives take priority.

Planning is a prerequisite in coaching, by have a plan you will be able to work methodically, step by step. It is important to periodize your season, your journey should be outlined, “what you want achieve by the end of the season and how you intend to do so”. Planning and preparation are essential to coaching.

Lastly, you must evaluate each session;
a. Where should I begin (starting point)
b. What do I want to achieve (objective)
c. How can I coach (how and what / resources)
d. What results have I achieved during the training session.

Remember Coaches influence performance. It is your job.