Coaching Actions

When you are coaching football you are interacting with your players and coaches within the context of football. Your players are executing football actions when they are on the pitch and as the coach, you are executing coaching actions.

Imagine a beautiful day at your training facilities when you walk out onto the pitch to start training session. What is the first things that you do? You are looking around, taking in the information your surroundings are communicating to you. You notice how many players that are on the pitch, if the sun is shining or if it’s still cloudy, and you notice which way the wind blows today. Based on this information you might make a decision to change your plans for todays session slightly by moving the pitch a couple of meters. Thereafter you execute this decision by moving the pitch or asking one of the other coaches to do it for you.

After the session you have scheduled a team meeting with your players. You are in the dressing room and your assistant is showing videoclips and talking to the players while you are observing the players. Imagine you notice a couple of players that are playing with their phones while your assistant is talking. What are you going to do? Based on this information your players have inadvertently communicated to you, there is a decision to make. Will you ask these players about their motivation to improve since they are obviously not paying full attention to what your assistant is saying? Or do you decide to let it go since they are not disturbing the rest of the group and talk to them individually? Whether your decision is to address these players in front of the group or individually, you will execute this decision with a certain tone of voice and body language appropriate to get your point across.

Both of these situations are examples of coaching actions within the context of coaching football even though it’s not happening during a game or a session on the pitch. Think about when you are on the pitch and coaching in a session and you realize that you are repeatedly executing coaching actions. Imagine one of your players, a midfielder who is looking to receive the ball from a team mate in the center of the pitch just below the circle when building up. You see that the midfielder, before receiving the ball is only looking towards the player with the ball and can’t see the opponent coming from behind and as a result, the pass is intercepted.

You decide that you want to make your midfielder aware of this mistake immediately since this is not the first time is has happened. Therefore you decide to freeze the play and address the situation by asking the midfielder what happened and what options are available for the next time a similar situation arises. And of course, if you decide to not address this situation immediately by freezing the play, possibly because you want to coach the player in a different way, that is also a coaching action. The decision of ’not doing anything’ is also a coaching action as long as you as the coach have seen the football problem and decided that inaction is the best action.

Whether you are coaching in a training session or in a game you are executing more than just one coaching action. And just as the players want to improve their football actions, you as a coach want to improve your coaching actions. You want to become a better coach, which means that you want to improve your communication, decision making and execution of these decisions within the context of coaching football. If you are able to shorten the time between your coaching actions you could increase the level of your influence on your players by executing more coaching actions.

Sometimes you see in games coaches who are very active at the start of the game by executing many coaching actions as long as their team is ahead. However, when the opponent scores you see the coach turning around and finding a place to sit on the bench and for some reason the coach seams to stop coaching. When do your players need you more, when you are winning 3-0 or when you are losing 3-0? In the same way as you want your players to maintain good football actions and many football actions at the end of the game and regardless of the score, you as a coach also need to maintain good coaching actions and maintain many coaching action throughout games and training sessions.

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