In reply to “BE BETTER: You are only as good as your last session”

Rob Maslin (@mazzacricket87) posted a searingly honest, reflective piece last week, looking at his 10 years’ coaching experience, and some of the lessons he has learned.

Coaches are being encouraged to become more self-reflective, but it is rare to see this reflection shared so openly.

But where Rob has led, perhaps others should follow.

So…10 years on from earning my first coaching badge, what more can go wrong?

Session structure & timekeeping

Like Rob, I used to struggle to finish on time. I had detailed session plans, with warm-ups, drills & games, cool-downs, coaching points and questions sketched out.

And I would always over-run, or have to leave out the cool-down, or the “wise words” at the end.

I don’t write session plans any more, maybe no more than an outline — what we are working on, perhaps what “good” looks like, a game.

I do have a sequence of activities in mind (really I do…even though I’m sure it must look pretty chaotic, at times), and I’ll try to drip feed CfU and technical pointers in throughout the session.

And we get more done, with less down-time, better engagement, more fun.

BTW — I really do apologise to all of my colleagues…but it works for me!

Parents

Why do you think I take the u9s away to the far side of the field?

Well, at least partly to avoid the u11s and their hardball practice, every player padded up and with helmets on.

But mostly so we can play our games without Dad telling his boy to get his top elbow up higher, or his daughter to stop picking daisies. (And vice versa — I might have a budding botanist, or florist, in the squad.)

I need to display more faith in my methods, and claim the spot right in front of the club house.

Yes, she could develop a more “correct” technique…but perhaps we can wait to see if she still wants to play the game when she turns 8 before we turn to the coaching manuals?

Yes, not every player is focussed, 120 minutes, lapping up every word of wisdom, every hint & tip the coach dispenses, from start to finish of the session.

I’ll tell you the truth — I probably switch off, more than once, and just watch the gulls settling on the outfield, at least for a moment.

Isn’t it great just being outside?

Discipline

I won’t sit a player out, unless I absolutely have to. If I am working with another coach, I’ll ask them to run the session for a while so I can sit down with the “miscreant” and chat about their day. They mostly come back to the group, after that.

Sorry — if you want discipline, it will have to come from home. I see the kids for an hour, maybe two, each week. I’ll work with what they bring.

Saying “no” to just one more 3 hour round-trip for 90 minutes coaching…

Not good at this. Promised myself I won’t do this in 2020. Will see what transpires.

Where next?

Things I want to work on:

  • sharing (more of) the session outline with my colleagues
  • the courage of my convictions

Things I want to change:

  • travelling for longer than I coach

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