This past week a number of our coaches attended Positive Coaching Alliance training. This week’s notes are about PCA, one method to improve as a coach, and coaching large teams. The words are long, but the lists are worth reading.
PCA: BAC has been incorporating PCA as long as I have been part of this club. PCA’s core concepts are essential to our community vision and focus on development in the beautiful game. The core concepts are:
- Focusing on what you can control is the key to performance and success. Great coaches teach this! And a tremendous body of research backs this up! The scoreboard is an important part of youth and high school sports…but still just a part. Winning is neither everything nor the only thing.
- Sports provide a great framework for cultivating ethical behavior. Winning and losing gracefully are hallmarks of people equipped to live in and lead a civil society. And learning to treat people with dignity, especially under the pressure of competition, is one of the most valuable life lessons sports can offer.
- Each person has an “Emotional Tank” that works like the gas tank of a car. When the tank is empty, we go nowhere. When the tank is full, we can go nearly anywhere. Athletes with full E-Tanks feel connected to their team and coach, which enables them to learn, perform and compete better!
- Youth and high school sports can provide a "Development Zone®" environment for developing Better Athletes, Better People, but only if coaches, parents, administrators and student-athletes intentionally make it so.
Coaching Tip for improvement. I coach older girls as well as DOC. One of the development training tips I have learned from other coaches and employing this season is to have them keep a journal. To record good and bad practices, notes about the game, and how they feel about their play. It is a good self-reflection exercise. I have additionally tried journaling t, but to improve my coaching technique. I have had difficulty picking what part of my sessions to focus on. Reviewing my old Soccer Journals, I found a gem in their November 2013 edition. I found an article on using reflection after practice to improve on the next. Coach Don Norton of Rowan University and USSF state coaching instructor for PA and NJ recommends a check sheet to focus your evaluation.
- Player’s safety: We always want an environment that is safe.
- Organization: Was space used properly. Too small and training is too hard, too large it becomes a fitness exercise without a technical challenge.
- Equipment: Was the equipment accessible and allowed for easy transition between drills
- Time: Did the practice flow, were there parts where players started to get disinterested because of running a drill to long or did the objective not get met due to rushing through the drill.
- Activity: Were the players fully engaged or did they have too much idle time.
- Positioning and observations: Where you are in a position where you can see all your players, can you quickly paint a picture of the technique without shouting across the pitch.
- Communication skills: Were you positive, clear, and empowering as you explained the drills and challenged your players.
I have my notebook already prepped with these 7 focus areas.
Coaching Tip of the week. Coaching Large Teams. Due to our desire to coach everyone and difficulty matching registrations to teams, we have some large teams in our older age groups. One method is to run exercises with 3 teams. This allows focus on small sided play for specific functions and areas of the pitch, while engaging all players on the team. I have pulled from the United soccer coaches journal a few exercises that leverage 3 teams of 6-8 players to work on defense, attacking, and possession. Three Team Exercises