Maintaining Good Coaching

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. In order to improve as a coach you want to execute better coaching actions which means that you are increasing the quality of your coaching by disregarding your own personality and taking the game (situation) as a starting point while using the correct leadership style when coaching. In this post we will look at maintaining the quality of your coaching actions over time with examples and suggestions on how you can maintain good coaching actions.

When you are coaching your team, do you want your players to pass with the same quality at the end of the game as in the beginning of the game? Do you expect your midfielders to create space with the same quality at the end of the session as they did in the beginning? You probably answered these questions with a big yes, you expect your players to maintain the same quality of their football actions throughout the session and for the full 90 minutes of the game. Maybe you are also training your players in a way that will help them maintain good football actions throughout the game.

Now, as a coach you should only demand of others what you are willing to do yourself. That means that as the coach of these players whom you expect to keep their quality throughout the session and the game, you should also maintain your own quality throughout the game and training session. In other words, you should maintain good coaching actions for the full 90 minutes of the game and throughout the training session. However, this does not appear to always be the case and sometimes you see coaches that are coaching really good in the beginning of the session or game but for some strange reason, the quality of their coaching drops after some time.

Imagine that you, in the beginning of the session are able to notice all the details around you, make good decisions based on that information and executing your coaching actions with top quality. But for some reason, when the end of the session is coming closer you are suddenly struggling to notice everything that’s going on around you and you are not able to make good decisions anymore. As a result, the quality of your coaching actions has deteriorated and is now lower than in the beginning of the session. You have become a worse coach than you were in the beginning of the training session.

If this happens, it means that your players have a coach in the beginning of the sessions who is of a certain quality, but at the end of the session their coach has become one of a lower quality. Now, think of how you would handle this situation if we were talking about a player instead of a coach. Imagine one of your players passing the ball with a certain quality in the beginning of the session, but at the end of the session the passing is of a low quality. What would you do? Take that example and think of it in a game situation where your player is not able to maintain good passing in the second half and the result would probably be that you substitute the player. Hopefully you as the coach have not been substituted by your club for not maintaining good coaching actions.

Now, the question is; how can you maintain the quality of your coaching actions throughout sessions and games? In order to answer this question we need to understand what is happening and why the quality of your coaching actions drops throughout a session or a game. Imagine yourself coaching a session at your club and the session is nearing the end. What can you think of that might cause the quality of your coaching actions to go down? External factors like; the weather, your assistant coach, the directors, players problems, win/loss record and fans could be causing you some headaches. Or maybe you are tired, hungry, have family problems or feel frustrated for some reason you can’t explain and this is affecting the quality of your coaching, making you unable to maintain good coaching actions.

Let’s have a look and see if these examples listed above of external factors and your personality is a problem? Sure, in itself all of these different external factors and your personality issues could be a problem for you. However, in the context of coaching football and the football training, should they be a problem? The answer to this question is no, your players does not deserver a lower quality coach because of some external factors or the personality of their coach. What is the real problem and the reason for the quality of your coaching actions to drop during the session and the game?

The problem is not the different external factors or your personality issues. The problem is that you are unable to control your thinking and maintaining thinking coaching actions. Now, some of these external factors might contribute to you struggling to control your thinking and as a consequence the quality of your coaching actions is lower. Will it be more difficult to maintain thinking coaching actions if you are tired? Will it be more difficult to maintain good coaching actions if you are hungry? To increase the chance of maintaining thinking coaching actions throughout the session and as a result maintaining good coaching, you as a coach need a recovery strategy.

As coaches, we focus a lot on the recovery for players between training sessions and games, but there is not so much talk about the recovery for the coach. As the coach, you also need to recover between games and trainings in order to start training fresh so that you give your players the quality of coaching that they deserve. If you as the coach are unable to maintain good coaching actions during the session, you are under-developing your players and in essence doing a poor job.

Take care of your recovery and practice to control your thinking in the face of the different external factors and your own personality issues that can arise during a season. This way you will give yourself a greater chance of maintaining good coaching actions throughout every training session and game. As a result you will be a better coach for your players, a coach that will be there for them during the entire game, not only the first half.

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