As a coach I have realised every coach is different and have both different temperaments and reasons for being involved in football. Some play for the win, striving for the precious 3 points a victory brings. Others do the job for the hope that their team and the individuals in the team will show improvement.
Our team has played against teams whose coaches have said very little during a match. Only the slightest amount of direction, heaping the praise when it is due. Other coaches have screamed, shouted and barked orders at their players. I have sometimes wondered how they expect 9, 10, 11 or 12 year olds to compute all the information that they are bombarded with from the touchline.
It has shocked me sometimes how coaches can expect this at such an early age. I myself have sometimes sat on the fence in the past and have been unsure which method is best. However being involved first hand I have taken to trying to guiding the players without being vocal all of the time.
This has sometimes led to criticism that I should be more hands on, but it is my belief that self-learning is pivotal in a player’s development. It improves problem solving and allows them to be more expressive. This then leads to enjoyment of the game for the players not only on an individual level but as a team. It helps them build there confidence and positive reinforcement is key.
Not only are the players always learning….coaches are too. Football for me is a constant learning experience. However your coaching ethos can be helped by the coaches not only in your team but in your club. I have been lucky enough to work with some truly special coaches within my club. They have welcomed me into the club and have helped me in my early days and still do. They have helped me with sessions and have been kind enough to allow me to attend theirs. We have shared best practices which allow us as a club to develop further.
Also upon taking my F.A. level 1 course I was also lucky to work with an F.A. Mentor. He was there for direction, development and to ensure that you were comfortable in giving your sessions. His expertise and wisdom of the game enabled me to engage my team more positively and develop them better.
I believe these figures are essential in the modern grassroots game of football. They help guide you through some of the challenging periods during a coach’s journey and allow you to overcome obstacles to become a better coach.
My 1st year as a coach has been at times challenging, but it is ultimately gratifying. I have loved being back involved with football as it was my favourite sport when I was a kid. I have enjoyed watching my team develop as individuals and a team. But for me as long as I can turn up to training and to a match on a Sunday and know that the lads are enjoying their football with a smile on their face……then I am a happy man and a happy coach!!!!!
Written by guest author Nick Minns