Effective Teaching for Coaches

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Deciding What to Coach 5 Ws
The game plan or style of play is central to the coaching process. Measuring your performance according to the requirements of successfully implementing your game plan is the key to defining what to include in your practice plans and activities. It always starts with the game and analysing your match play to identify specific problems or critical areas where you want your team and players to keep developing.  Game-based practice will then probably be the best way to develop that area of the game

Practice planning
So what do we actually practice to get improvement in our game day performance? This is where the art of coaching and utilising the coaching process comes in analysis, planning, practice.

Defining the specific area you wish to develop in the practice session is the important step at this stage and requires clear analysis. This can be done by asking a series questions around team performance - the 5 Ws.

What is not working?
Who are the main players, positions involved?
When in the game does this problem occur?
Where on the field does it usually happen?
Why is it happening what are the key elements of the problem?

One example might be scoring from inside 50s. In this scenario your team has been getting around 60 inside 50s per game usually enough to win most games if you can score from around half of them (30 shots) and you can convert slightly more than half of those shots into goals (16.14 on aver). 

Measurement (stats) shows that while you are getting 60 inside 50s, you are only getting 20 shots at goal. Conversion is satisfactory at 11 goals 9 on average.  

Applying the questions
What is not working? It appears that two thirds of the entries are not resulting in shots on goal and are being rebounded.

Who are the main players involved? The players delivering inside 50 (usually mid fielders or running defenders) and the target forwards or midfielders to whom the forward passes are directed.

When does it occur? Is it when particular players are delivering the ball? When specific target players are the receivers, during specific periods of the game early (confidence?), late (fatigue)?

Where does it happen? Short inside 50? Deep inside 50? Central corridor? Wide? Everywhere? 

Why is it happening? Poor delivery (not to advantage)? Taking shots at goal beyond range? Poor leading patterns? Specific opposition defence?

Using the questions in this manner will allow you to narrow the problem down to one or two specific elements and allow you to organise productive practice activities around those specific elements.

You might discover that while you have plenty of ball coming in to the forward line, a large proportion of entries are long kicks into the middle of the area which puts your forwards under considerable pressure and always in contested situations, allowing the opposition backs to double team, make relatively easy spoils and have space out wide for quick exits. Target players are contributing to this by continually leading towards the central area and rarely using hit-up leads or the width available in the forward line.

This analysis would then lead you develop specific activities to work on leading patterns of the Inside 50 target players, the vision of the players delivering inside 50 (scanning the area, picking a good target option and then delivering to advantage.

The practice session 
Having defined the specific areas to coach, the next step is deciding what can be realistically achieved in the one practice session and setting a specific practice objective. This may be developed over a number of sessions. 

For example this may be to develop specific leading patters in your target players. Then you can develop and deliver the practice activity again using the strategic questions:

What will you teach them? How will you do it practice organisation? What constraints will you use? e.g. where on the field? What do you specifically want the players to do to develop their leading patterns? What level of opposition for target players? How much pressure on delivering players? How long will the practice run?

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