The Coach Diary

New Year and fresh ideas, you never stop learning.

I look back on this time last year and I have to say I am definitely a much better coach. I would say I’m more focused on possession and defending as a team. I’m even more relaxed on the line and always look for ways to inspire. Like me, many this time of year take time to reflect on the past year and it is also a time to set new goals, take action, change your ways and look at the year ahead. This is also a good time to come up with new ideas, practices and policies. By simply tweaking methods and policies you can change a lot. For others the changes may be a little more drastic, and it might be time to give up coaching altogether, you may not have the patience you use to have or you simply can’t adopt to the new ways of coaching kids. Times are a changing my friends….

TOP 5 coaching resolutions for 2013. 

The coach Diary’s New Year Resolutions

1. Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. One thing I’ve learned as a coach is that if you prepare you sessions you are doomed. The kids will out smart you with answers and questions you don’t have the answers for. No point in doing a game related exercise, if you yourself don’t know why you’re doing it. Develop a detailed season (half season) long plan with very clear goals for the team, address the key areas for development and ensure that the sessions are structured and aligned with the season plan. I know this is an area us ‘volunteer’ coaches sometimes fail on, due to the lack of time we have to prepare. Most coaches are getting under 3 hours per week with their teams, so don’t over complicate. Keep it simple!

“It’s not the hours you put in, it’s what you put in the hours”.

2. Mix it up a bit. Change your sessions around, bring in new games and keep it interesting. Keys areas Technical (95%), Fitness (can be introduced in the Technical drills  and Tactics (5% of your session based on the age group your working with). Never stop learning as a coach. Every coaching seminar you go to, try and pick up something new every-time. Their are plenty of great books and websites out there. Two I recommend are Inside Soccer and Coerver Coaching. Finally, move players around in different positions, get them to understand what each postion on the pitch requires of a player to do. Keep it game related.

“Practice does not make perfect. Only perfect practice makes perfect”.

4. Develop every player: It’s funny how kids change; six months is a long time in a child’s development. Don’t leave any kid out, if you have decided to bring them into the squad then you must continue to work with them but they must also continue to attend training and want to learn.  Talk to your weaker players, let them know how they need to improve and what you expect from them. A good idea it to let their parents know, how they are doing in some cases.  Something I didn’t do last year was to get players working on their own. You can develop an individual training program for players to train in their own time, this might be a simple as working on running technique, passing and receiving etc. Arrange a time to sit with each player and design a programme for them, based on their own goals and ideas.

“Confidence is contagious. So is lack of confidence”.

5. Mental and personal training: You are much more then a coach, you inspire kids and they believe in you. Teach about good behaviour, set a positive example on and off the field. Be calm, respectful and keep your discipline.Teach them the same. Maintaing their discipline and respecting your team mates and the opposition is key to success of any team, it is alos part of player development. Using psychological training in developing the overall performance of the team and players. Look at ways to get the best from your team and players. A simple quote or pre game talk; a one to one talk can be diference you make in your teams or players performance. Lead by example, motivate and inspire.

Others things:

  • Advice on Nutrition.
  • Always be in club gear and wear the uniform with pride.
  • Are you inspiring players?

Every year for me as been a better year and I hope the same for you. The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.

“Practice as if you are the worst, perform as if you are the best.”

Let me know, your New Year Resolutions and have a Happy one!