Watching one of the guys who works with the Soccer Coach Weekly team every morning as he parks his car got me thinking about coaching and how opportunity and practice are vital to any set of skills a person has.
My colleague turns up every morning and attempts to park his car within the white lines… unfortunately they are painted quite close together and at an angle making parking difficult.
Most people turn up and drive front first into the parking space but my colleague reverses in and usually misses the space taking up two parking spaces. Eventually as the weeks have gone by he has managed to work out how to reverse in and now can easily get his car into the space in reverse.
In the world of youth coaching you can see exactly the same thing applies. If a player cannot do a skill, pass a ball or take a shot at goal properly then he must practice and practice until he can master the correct way to do it.
Trial and error
How on earth would a young player know how hard to kick a ball to go different distances if he doesn’t try out the pass? This fact is something as coaches we must keep at the forefront of our minds when we are coaching something new or when we have a player who doesn’t seem to be able to shoot accurately at goal or pass the ball with the right weight and direction.
When my colleague parks his car, he likes to have it pointing so that he doesn’t have to reverse when he goes home at night. So he does what he thinks is the hard part in the morning. What he will come to realize is that he has done it so many times now that it wouldn’t matter which way he parked the car because he has now mastered the difficult part of reversing.
You can’t do it YET
With kids it is often “I can’t do that” which they use as a way of getting out of trying to do something they are not sure of. “You can’t do it YET” should be the coaches response because with a bit of practice all skills are manageable to some extent.
By using a phrase like “you cant do it yet” it gives the player the confidence of thinking that you ‘know’ he will be able to do it eventually so he will practice more until he has mastered the skill and not be too scared to try it out.
Repetition is the friend of all coaches – and car parking.
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