I’m here in Lisbon reflecting on one of the best educational experiences I’ve just had here in the beautiful capital of Portugal. The course I attended was the Football Braining Experience from the World Football Academy, a course which takes psychology and translates it to the context of football and football language. This was the second time in as many years as the course has been held in Portugal, last year it was in Porto with me in attendance also there. Even though last years course was very good this years Football Braining Experience hit it out of the park for a clear cut home run. The most simple explanation for this is that the Football Braining (Brain-training) concept has evolved for one more year and improved.
The course started on Tuesday morning at 8.00 am and the first day gave all the delegates a crash course in controlling their thoughts with the day ending 16 hours later at 12.00 am. This is generally not the normal way to start courses in coach education, but this is not a normal coaching course. The demands of everyone are high and if you do not want to improve or are afraid of getting outside of your comfort zone, well then a World Football Academy coaching course is not for you. However, if you do want to challenge yourself this is the best place to be. In total we had 50 hours of world class education in only 3,5 days. This condensed schedule was helped by time for reflection individually and in subgroups throughout every day.
As you might imagine when you attend a top class course you take lots of notes to help the learning process in a short period of time. That’s why it’s so important to allow for a day after the course were you sit down and go through your notes, reflect and summarize them. This is something I’ve done for a couple of years and the processes of how it’s done continues to evolve. This time my biggest reflection has been on reflecting on your reflections and the importance of this for all coaches and leaders. But what does this reflecting on reflections mean?
Most people go through life without reflecting on their actions and their subsequent consequences. Coaches who are developing teams and players are probably more used to reflecting on their sessions, team talks, media interviews and meetings with the board for example. Even though it’s difficult enough to find time during the season to reflect on the decisions you made it’s very important in order to figure out if you’re going in the right direction. Most coaches would probably agree with this statement. However, making time to reflect on your reflections seams over the top, right?
What could possibly be the point of thinking of why you thought what you thought? Well, let’s look at it this way. Imagine you are analyzing the last game and after reflecting on the players’ performance you make the decision to drop a certain player. This seams straight forward enough; you reflected on the last game and made the decision you thought was the best for the team. However, if you reflect on this reflection you may find out that there might be other thoughts influencing your first reflection of the game. For example your reflections on the game might be influenced by your previous results (lost 3 straight vs winning 3 straight), pressure from board members or other external influences such as the media, agents, parents etc. These influences will probably not pop-up in your thinking while you are reflecting on the game, but if you reflect on your reflection you have a chance of identifying what controls your thought process and improve your next reflection.