When Coaches Get it Right
What happens if we actually
revolutionized coaching at youth academies? What happens if we rid
ourselves of the “this is the way it has always been done” attitude?
What happens if we actually coached players to their full potential –
one skill at a time?
Too often, we get it wrong at
youth academies. Running players through a series of intricate drills is
not necessarily good coaching. Many coaches put forth 90 minutes of
training in a clean format following their federation course guidelines.
They start with a warm-up, get on with some drills, put forth a match,
and warm down. That may or may not be an effective session, but rarely
do we as coaches ask ourselves if what we are doing is the best way to
develop young players. Is this set-up the best use of our limited time
with the athletes?
“…rarely do we as
coaches ask ourselves if what we are doing is the best way to develop
young players. Is this set-up the best use of our limited time with
Lets begin to “train the
individual within a team context” rather than just train the team. 20
players, 20 solutions. I can hear traditional coaches dismiss this
paradigm. I hear them say, “we cannot do this”, “we must manage the team
first”, “we don’t have time”, “we must win this weekend”, etc. And I do
not believe them. We can do better and I have seen coaches do it.
Coaches are capable of focusing on
the individual within the team context. Individual screens, player
profiles, training plans – all aligned to maximize the potential of the
athlete. And in turn, this does indeed maximize the potential of the
team. A multitude of skill development activities, training games, and
positive encouragements delivered to the player as he journeys on his
This is when coaches get it
right: when they understand that the team is a collection of individuals
– each a unique being with unique talents to be developed over time. The
best coaches have done this for years. Our best trainers provide the
right solution in the right format to the right player at the right
time. That is coaching at its best and the best coaching.
“…the team is a
collection of individuals – each a unique being with unique talents to
be developed over time.”
When we pretend that “one size
fits all” training programs will bring uniformity, we deceive ourselves.
Of course we hold individuals accountable to the team, but we must see
each player as a unique individual on a unique learning path.