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Coach The Coach: The Blog

A View From The Coaching Ladder

By Neil Winskill

Several members of the Foundation coaching team are undertaking or have recently completed their UEFA B Coaching Licence. This is a prestigious coaching award offered by the FA, for which, in February 2014, I was lucky enough to be asked to become a new course tutor.

I vividly remember completing this award myself back in 1997 and have two abiding memories of the course. The first being the sheer panic I felt having been given my final assessment topic and realising I had not seen the tutor deliver anything near that subject matter! The second memory being stood on the side of the field during my mock assessment, players tearing around the field, the ball zipping from end to end and thinking “are my eyes are not working as I can’t see what is going on!”

These issues were prevalent again in the ‘Class of 2014’ UEFA B candidates in Northumberland. It provoked me to write this blog which I hope helps to shed some light and provide some guidance on some of the learning challenges faced by the current cohort.

As part of our in-house mentoring programme, I have been regularly used as a sounding board for session plans, identifying key coaching points and general advice sharing on “how do I improve my coaching?!” Having been through these awards myself, I am more than happy to act as a mentor, sounding board or agony aunt in order to share my own experiences and ideas to help my coaches in fulfilling their potential – being a mentor is one of my most useful functions.

Having shared two full weeks with the students on the course I have witnessed first hand some key issues faced by these students of the game:

  1.        Understanding the principles of play and their application
  2.        Developing a coaching theme and practice design
  3.        Observing a coaching session and identifying when/who to help
  4.        Communicating your ideas efficiently and effectively

These areas relate to the Coaching Cycle

 Coaching Diagram

Using my experiences to address point 2 above, I have compiled a list of ‘top tips’, to help coaches observe the play effectively (to help decipher on-field pictures) to use live situations as great teaching opportunities:

“See It, Recognise It, Diagnose It & Help Fix It!”

Use your KNOWLEDGE to … Apply the PRINCIPLES OF PLAY to … The PICTURE you SEE

  • Be clear on what you’re looking for – 3 pictures.
  • Ensure you have a good vantage point – plan your coaching position.
  • Have a system for observing – scrutinize in small chunks.
  • Be logical – observe ON, AROUND & AWAY from the ball.
  • Look away from ball – helps with recreating pictures for demo’s.
  • Be one step ahead & forecast – “what is about to happen?!”
  • Observe LIVE play – what are you seeing in front of you.
  • The best coaches see things in slow motion – practice looking!

Next month’s blog “Getting Started in Coaching”.

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