Monthly Archives: July 2011
Over the years, I’ve attended a good number of coaching sessions. Some of them have been exciting inventive sessions, some have been simple sessions I’ve seen a hundred times before. As coaches, we often feel that our own philosophy of playing & coaching the game is the best way and rightly so. We are nothing without strong belief in the methods we use with our teams but in football and in particular coaching there is always (yes, always!) room for extra knowledge.
In recent years I’ve tried to live by the rule that no matter what football event I attend, there is a potential learning opportunity to be taken advantage of. I have spent countless of hours watching sessions with fellow coaches in the past (some of whom in fairness, couldn’t find a positive word for almost any session in the world!) and not come away at the end of the day with anything meaningful to add to my coaching arsenal. Perhaps it was because I was easily lured into the blind alley of only looking for negatives, an almost undeniable trait of we Irish! We do love a moan and sometimes sadly, it even seems we love it more than football itself.
Nowadays, perhaps through experience and old age (the grey hairs becomming even more frequent!), I try to steer well clear of negative sources at coaching sessions. I also try to live by the mantra that there has to be at least ‘one thing’ I can learn or reinforce from a particular game or session that can be transferred into my own coaching career.
Some times they may be as simple as using equipment in a certain way (e.g. one I saw in the past was the use of a different coloured sock for a player’s weaker foot at training to encourage use and to allow for easy visual analysis – genius!). Other times they can simply be a variation or progression on a particular session that breeds new life into a tired old practise. Even sessions that obviously don’t go particularly well for the coach in question can provide little positive reminders to yourself about the many pitfalls of coaching. There’s always something, always.
So in closing, my simple advice to any coach at any level, would be to always try to pick up something, just one thing, for yourself at every session you attend or happen to be walking past in the local park. Stay away from the negativity where possible, it’s utterly contagious and ultimately serves no real good.
Despite what our favourite sporting satellite TV channels might suggest, I’ve yet to meet a football ‘expert’. Never forget that for the top coaches in the world, every day is a school day in football and that’s good enough for me.
I wanted to just publish a short blog post today stating how much I’ve enjoyed the FIFA Women’s World Cup this summer. The games thus far, have been of a very high quality, the players of a very good technical standard and the atmosphere at the games in Germany has been as good if not better than some of the top male tournaments of recent years.
It’s been a great advertisement for the quality of women’s football and been a real joy to watch. It has also proved to me yet again, what I have always considered to be true and that is, that Women’s Football is a marketable global game. A game that can draw big audiences, investors, sponsors and have a lasting effect on young women the world over.
I’ve heard anecdotally that the millions of Euro’s the Germans have pumped into the tournament will result in them at best breaking even on their investment however it is the value of the legacy the tournament will leave for the next generation of young German females, a nation already extremely well-developed in Women’s Football, which should not be underestimated. Worth every single cent, in my opinion.
I purposely wrote this brief blog post today while the competition is still ongoing to give anyone reading this who hasn’t seen a game yet some time to check it out. If there’s half the drama from here on in, as we have seen already in the quarter-finals of yesterday, we are in for an absolute treat.
Enjoy the rest of the tournament and be a supporter of the development of Women’s Football where ever you are in the world. It’s already the next big thing.
The second book I am going to recommend on the new ‘Reading List’ feature on the blog is what I consider to be one of the best and most knowledgable resources on the art of coaching & management of players/athletes available.
The book is entitled ‘Successful Coaching’ and is written by American Sport Education Programme (ASEP) founder Rainer Martens. The book is without question, a leading sports manual on the profession of coaching and provides information on specific area’s of coaching such as physical training, tactical and technical skill development, priciples of player management, motivation of young athletes, media skills etc
The book apprently sold over 500,000 copies in it’s first issue and it is now on its 3rd edition with over 1 million sales. This gives a guide to the potential number of coaches who may have been influenced by this book and in turn the millions of players who may have been affected positively as a result.
I have found this book personally to be a very useful resource throughout my coaching career thus far and recommend it, without hesitation, to all coaches as a book worth exploring regardless of the sport you may be involved in.