Coaching From Experience Is Not Enough
How did you develop your coaching philosophy? How did you come up with the activities you do in practice? How did you develop your thoughts on the game and how you should coach it? If you are like most coaches, much of what you do is based on your own experience. For those of us who played growing up, we base what we do on what we learned growing up. Stop it. Think about it: your personal experience is one out of millions. Simply based on probability, the chances are that the way you were coached or the way you played is not the best way. Add that to the fact that we are learning more every day about the science of how kids learn and the causes and effects of different methodologies, and you are better off doing none of what you learned growing up. If most of what you do as a coach is based on your own playing and coaching experience, you are doing a disservice to your players. A good coach uses his or her personal experience, but only the good aspects. The rest of it is thrown away and replaced with better methods and ideas. If you want to be a great coach – or even just an above-average coach – you need to combine the best aspects of a variety of resources. Learn from others and develop what you believe is the best way to teach and develop your players (hint: there is a lot of research that has already been done on this – you don’t need to re-invent the wheel). As you develop your philosophy, learn a variety of methods to implement it.
How do we coach and teach things we have never done? Get Your Badges Even if you do not plan on coaching long-term or are not a paid coach, you still need to get your badges. For those of us in the United States, find out where the nearest NSCAA and USSF courses are and sign up. If you live in an area that does not host very many, consider contacting your state representative, or better yet, take a short trip – it’s great to meet new people. Sure, these courses cost money, but there are several that cost very little. The NSCAA has SIX courses that take less than a weekend and cost no more than $160. They also have three goalkeeping courses of the same nature. The USSF has the F License, which costs $25 and is online. They also offer the E and D Licenses locally, which cost no more than a few hundred dollars. Put a little money aside for a few months (or do a couple odd jobs), and you can pay for these courses easily. If you are abroad, research your local or national football association or federation to find their offerings. Debate The best way to learn and truly test yourself is to share and speak with others. Debate, ask questions, and share thoughts. Invite colleagues or other coaches out for a drink and talk about the game. If you happen to attend a coaching course, it is a great opportunity to meet other coaches and develop a network where you can share ideas. Watch Other Coaches On a night off, go out to the pitch and watch someone else’s session. What activities do they use? How do they communicate with the players? How do they manage the session? Get Feedback Getting feedback from colleagues is invaluable. Invite fellow coaches to come watch your sessions or matches. Ask them for genuine feedback. You may not always agree, but hopefully they make you think. Learn Online The NSCAA has started offering a variety of E-Learning options. Schedule some time and participate in these activities. You can also research sessions online to get new ideas to implement into your sessions. Clicking here is a great place to start. ;) Read Blogs, articles, magazines, books. There are a variety of ways to read up on the game and how to coach it. Follow multiple sources on social media and keep up-to-date with the articles and resources they share. If you do not know who to follow, ask others! How do you learn more about the game and coaching? Share in the comments!