Saturday, September 7, 2013

The challenge of staying quiet and letting them play.

It sounds easy doesn't it?  Stay quiet.  Let them play.  Simple.  But that's not the case.

To ask a coach to set up a game and just let the players play is unusually difficult.

A coach who is not confident may feel like they aren't coaching if they are not heard.

A coach might feel like the team parents think he's doing nothing because he's not interfering.

Team parents might actually feel their coach is ineffective because they aren't screaming.

By stepping back and WATCHING you can quickly see who is applying the skills your teaching and who isn't.
Think about what North Americans see in terms of coaching:
  • NCAA March Madness has half their highlights of coaches yelling
  • NBA coaches marching up and down the floor during games
  • Many American football movies feature yelling, demanding and speech making coaches
  • many American basketball movies have coaches with a "my way or no way" attitude
  • American soccer movies have coaches in shiny track suits with whistles and clip boards running around all over
  • NHL highlights often feature coaches yelling and screaming at people.
People have per-conceived ideas of what a coach is and how they act.  A new coach has that as their starting point.

I've had parents tell me : he's not a good coach, he doesn't yell enough.

Being a good soccer coach might mean that you coach less.  Being a good LTPD coach involves a lot of guided discovery.

Some ideas to help you out:
  • Set up Small sided games with a without themes and let them play.  Development for you: set a stop watch and stay quiet for 5 minutes.  10 minutes.  Let them play.
  • Plan your session, know your topic and coach that topic.  Don't coach everything.  Pick your moments to step in, coach and get them playing again.
  • During a small-sided-game, don't step in the very first time something goes wrong.  It may be a one-time thing.  If it's consistently in need of help, then step in.
  • Ask yourself, often "am I ruining their session by coaching too much?"  
  • If you have a young team with 3-4 parent coaches, pick only one person to speak, if a time comes to speak. 
I am not going to pretend this is easy.  It's not.  It was difficult for me and most coaches.  It tests your self-confidence in a big way and causes you to question whether or not you are really coaching.  There are unfair and artificial pressures out there, outside of the team.  Pending relegation.  Possible promotion.  Advance in tournament.  Parent threat of removing a child.  Another parent telling parents they are applying for the team.  It all happens.  It's not right, but it happens.  As a new coach it becomes more difficult to be hands off.

By stepping back and WATCHING you can quickly see who is applying the skills your teaching and who isn't.  It really does work and works well.

Here is another point for you to consider.  If you step in too much and your players expect you to step in too much, a small-sided-game might never take full flow because they know you're going to stop it soon.  Your players might have one eye on you while playing, waiting for you to speak.  And they will take that into the game.  Do you really want your players worrying about you during a game?

If you make an effort to become a little less hands-on, you will become a much better coach, much quicker.