Saturday, January 21, 2012

What is "Physical Literacy"?

"Individuals who are physically literate move with competence and confidence in a wide variety of physical activities in multiple environments that benefit the healthy development of the whole person."
Years ago, my first ever assistant coach, Rino, once pointed out to me that some players did not know how to run properly.  I wondered what he meant, but since then I see it all the time.

In a time period, not too far in the distant past, children played outside all day long.  A typical day involved climbing, jumping, skipping, catching, throwing, kicking, running, rolling, wrestling and balancing.  Unsupervised, extended outdoor play time is no longer the norm and it shows in our players.

If you watch children play hockey or soccer there is almost a robotic undertone to what's going on during games.  To me, it's a combination of over-coaching and a lack of intuitiveness that's developed when children play on their own.

If you watch young players from other countries, especially the poorer nations, they have an athleticism about them that we can no longer match on a grand scale.  That athleticism still shows through in basketball players who grew up playing on the street, but very few other places.

Some people will argue that you are "born with it".  You might be able to argue that when it comes to the level of potential, but not when it comes to confidence.  If you are exposed to various situations requiring you to have better control of your body during your early years, you will be more confident in using your body and more inclined to try new things later in life.

You see it all the time ... people who have bodies that are not athletic but are confident in playing anything. And vice versa.

It's important to build some time into each session that allows the players to play and solve their own problems.

Physical Literacy is directly addressed in the Long Term Player Development philosophy of many sports in Canada.

Cancel - cancel - cancel

Thursday's U13 tryout was cancelled due to poor travel conditions.  There was a heavy snow during the day and the Highway 406 had been closed several times due to accidents.  There was no need to add stress by keeping the tryout on for those who could make it.  The Niagara Falls Sportsplex was kind enough to not charge for the facility.

We moved the originally schedule release date to a week later.  Now the boys will have 5 sessions instead of 4 to show us their stuff.

On Saturday I was  to co-facilitate an OSA course to complete my "apprenticeship".  The course was cancelled due to low enrollment so I will have to wait for another day.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

U13 Tryout - Jan 17 - penetrating passes

Last night we had our third tryout.  The boys all came and worked hard again.  We are picking up the pace of what we are doing and it shows in the games afterwards.

Last night, after a short passing warm-up, we ran another drill working on getting he ball or yourself forward.  It was a simple drill.  One player dribbles forward, his teammate trails by 15 yds and 15 yds to the side.  the dribbler plays the ball to a waiting player who lays the ball back to the trailing teammate.  The dribbler then makes a penetrating type run to meet a penetrating pass made by that trailing player.  The ball was to be played directly forward while the run was made on an angle.  We had the drill running in both directions.  One coach stood a few yards behind the player laying the ball back, acting as a member of the defending team.  If the ball was played too close to the coach it was deflected.  Getting the ball between and behind defenders was the objective.

Coaching points were simple:

Running with the ball
  • Have ball keep pace with runner
  • Do not let the ball get away from you
Penetrating run
  • Timing of run
  • Communication
  • Approach ball at right speed to take control and attack
Penetrating pass
  • Quick, early, accurate
  • Get ball behind and between defenders and into space on first touch
  • Ball on the ground, with speed
We had to keep it simple because our time on the floor was limited, there were a lot of players out (34) and it's tryouts, so the players want to show what they can.  Most drills can be kept simple and still be effective.

I was looking to see who could apply what we were working on into a game situation and a lot of them did.

All I watch for during the games were instances where a pass was attempted to the players current position when a penetrating pass situation was available.  It's also known as a "through ball".

You always second guess yourself during tryouts.  Do we drill them to death to watch pure technical abilities and limit their chances to show us their intangibles during games?  Do we make it a pure game situation and not let the new players learn some of what the others know?  We had 34 players playing indoor, including 2 keepers.  Do we make 7v7 in 2 shifts or 5v5 in three shifts?  Does the crowded field show us who can solve the problem presented?  Is it right to do smaller teams and less shifts, balancing the extra space with less playing time?  So many questions at this stage with never the right answer.

After this Thursday we shrink our list a bit.  Always painful.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

OSA Active Start Course Today

I observed the delivery of an Active Start course today.  There were about 23 OSA learning facilitators standing at the back of the room while the course was going on.  23 adults in blue golf shirts like young doctors sitting in a surgery theatre.

The course went very well, considering it was the first time this new format is being delivered.  The LF today was Bobby Lennox, a seasoned OSA coach. 

Next week I co-facilitate the same course in Woodbridge, then I am done my training.

Watching the 20 coaches taking the course threw me back to 1989 when I took my first course.  I am a geek for this kind of stuff and I still found it very interesting today.

Friday, January 13, 2012

U13 Boys Tryout - January 12

Last night we had our second U13 tryout of January.  The facility we were in has no boards and better turf than Tuesday, and costs a lot more.  To give the boys a chance to play we decreased the actual ball work or "drills" to 15 minutes.

10 minutes before the session we already organized the boys in pinnies ready to go.  Compared to outside, you have to stay more organized indoor because the clock is your master.

We repeated a zig-zag passing drill from Tuesday.  I believe in doing a drill at least twice to give the boys a chance to shine at it.  Not everybody gets everything the first time.  And, with 32 kids out, if you have too many drills, but the time you get each organized and the boys ready, too much time has passed.

After doing the zig-zag passing we ran a simple exercise with one player running with the ball, the other starting from behind him, 15 yds to his side, then running past him.  When the player with the ball reaches half he sends a ball forward for the other player.  One thing I want to fix is getting the players forward when a teammate the has the ball.  Too often they run with or behind their teammate with the ball.  That works great in rugby, but we're not playing rugby.

During the game portion of he night (45 minutes) players were getting forward and looking for penetrating passes.  And players were looking to move the ball forward while running.  Mission partially accomplished.

The boys have now had 2 sessions to shake their winter rust off.

Next Tuesday we will spend more time on technical work and Thursday we will spend more time playing.  After Thursday we shrink the list down.