24 May 2010
As an independent coaching centre, I have started a Level 2 / NVQ course at Ladymeads School in Taunton, Somerset. The candidate coaches are a mixture of 16 – 19 year old students and two teachers. It is proving to be an interesting experience as all of the lads have some experience of coaching to various degrees, but are all very keen to learn and progress as coaches.
For their session today, the coaches had an indoor session in the school gym, where they had to coach a group of 12 boys and girls aged between 11 to 13 of various abilities.
As a group we had previously decided what the coaches would do and planned the sessions using coaches’ chalkboard from the website legacy.grassrootscoaching.com.
The theme of the sessions was “playing in threes” with the coaches given a particular topic to coach, for example “pass and move in threes”
The pre planning for the session included health and safety checks, equipment requirements and organisation etc.
The first thing the coaches had to do was a Health and Safety check on the pitch, the area surrounding the pitch and the players themselves. Checking for any injuries, medical problems, footwear, shin pads and any personal jewellery. This check is vital as the coach is responsible for the Health and Safety of the players.
After laying out the equipment they needed for their sessions on the pitch and ensuring that the size of the area they wanted to use was correct, that any cones they laid out where as they had planned and that they had sufficient balls and bibs, the coaches introduced themselves to the group of players and explained what the coaching session was about.
A verbal explanation is one thing, but invariably players don’t listen or indeed understand the explanation. So the first thing I encouraged the coaches to do was to be one of the players and show the players the pattern of the practice they wanted to work on. So, for example, the first coach was coaching the topic “pass and move in threes
Once the players understand the pattern of the practice and the coach should slow things down until the players fully understand, then the coach can begin to add more technical detail to improve the players’ performance. Details such as, time the runs to receive the pass: Communicate to the passer, with voice and hand signals where the pass should be played. Head up and picture the pass, before passing etc. Again, the best way for the coaches to put this message across is to demonstrate to the players what they want. They should go in to the session, recreate the scenario and be the player they want to coach. Then let the player have a go at what they have seen.
Overall, the coaches did really well with their coaching. I was really pleased with the way that they communicated with the players, showed them the pattern of the practice and their enthusiasm, which transmitted itself to the players and made the sessions really enjoyable for them.