Irish Grassroots Football

Is your coaching relevant?

One of the hardest things with coaching is to make sure your coaching is relevant. Relevant to the times and age specific. If your sending the players off on a run around a pitch, to warm up; then I can tell you that, you’re not relevant. What I mean by relevant, is relevant to the time; relevant to the wants and needs of those players.

With kids having less and less contact with the ball, it’s important that you plan your session so that each player is challenged in a game like situation. There is a much better transfer of technique through playing in games and the physical conditioning is much more football-specific and intense in small-sided games. All players, especially young players enjoy playing games much more than line drills, which is hugely motivational. It’s in these types of games that kids develop, Game Intelligence; Perception; Understanding of the game and improve their decision making. All the things that will see a player develop over-time.

“Time wasting, can equate to 11 extra hours of extra training over the course of a typical year”

Too often kids are left running around a pitch with no ball or standing around with no ball. This type of training is not relevant to our times. Every player should have a ball or least chasing another one for it. If they say a pro player touches the ball on average, over 2 minutes in an 90 minute game, then it’s highly likely a youth player touches the ball far less. Last year I counted how many times each player touched the ball in an 11v11, u12s game. I was astonished to find, that each player touched the ball just over 16 times in an 60 minute match. Incredible, I know and I suggest you try this to see for yourself.

“A common mistake among those who work in sport is spending a disproportional amount of time on “x’s and o’s” as compared to time spent learning about people.” – Mike Krzyzewski

So, when you plan your sessions, make sure you’re relevant. Make sure each player has a ball and make sure each player is getting over 200 touches, per hour long training session. This should be the minimum. Most importantly make sure its FUN and make sure you’re having fun!

One of the most important things to remember as a coach, is to provide your players with variety. Each session should be well prepared. Focus on one key thing that the players will learn from and keep with the times. Remember you’re teaching so they should be learning something.

And finally…last week I was sent an article by a coach in the US and it contained an interesting thing about time wasting. This is what was said:

At most practices, there’s an inevitable five-minute downtime — often disguised as a too-long water Break — while the coach scurries around to set the cones for the next activity. When Lepore (coach) finished a drill he merely asked players to remove a certain color of cone and they were ready to move on to the next activity with zero down time.

“We often use a stopwatch in evaluating practices,” Lepore noted, “how long downtimes last, how long transitions are from one activity to the next. We try to measure how many touches, how many repetitions, how many of the players are involved.”

The differences may seem trivial at first but efficiency is surely among the most significant determinants of success is how productive training is. Consider a coach who starts a practice exactly on time and transitions directly from activity to activity. Compared to a coach who starts 2 and half minutes after the designated time and takes just one minute to transition the difference will be almost 11 extra hours of extra training over the course of a typical year.

At roughly six touches per minute that’s about 4,000 more touches. Add just one additional touch per minute by making things more efficient during running time — smaller groups with a ball; less time chasing lost balls; clearer directions followed the first time, and you add another 9000 touches per year, the equivalent of another 20-plus hours of training. —-END

Time keeping is an essential part of quality coaching, use it wisely!

I always like to hear your opinions. Please comment below or email me If, you don’t have anything to add then please forward this on to a friend. Thanks for reading. I’m also on twitter @Coachdiary