7 ways to create challenging coaching sessions

Coaching isn’t just a matter of turning up and running a session – anyone can do that. You need to think about how you are going to deliver the session so the learning experience is heightened for your players.

Training session

Getting young players to unleash their potential isn’t as straightforward as you think. I’m all about getting kids to be the best they can be, so my coaching sessions reflect that.

I’m always thinking in my mind what my coaching session will look like and how my players will understand and learn from my session. The outcome of the session should be to develop my players not “we must win our next match”. If I am developing them they will play better in the next game.

Part of what we do as coaches is to help develop the players to fit in with their lifestyles – enjoyment, development, learning, fun.

Bigger, faster, stronger players often control games so we have to work on other things to get the players to play hard, to do the little things in matches, to be humble and work for their teammates.

Will they win? I really don’t care I want my players to be the best they can so I need to be organized and I need to plan out how my session will be run.

These three tick boxes will help you decide how you coach your sessions:

☑ Know your players – which ones need what, and when do they need your help?

☑ Talk to/listen to your players – are they enjoying the sessions? Do they understand what they are doing?

☑ Ask yourself… did my intervention have a positive impact on their learning?

Here are my seven tips on how to get the most out of coaching your sessions:

1. What is the problem?

Picture in your mind what it is that your team is doing wrong. Think about the type of session you need to help the team.

2. What is available to me?

What resources do you have that relate to the problem? Soccer Coach Weekly issues are a great place to start.

3. Have I used a session in the past to cover the topic?

Think about what you have done before when you have come across this problem. Did you solve it? Can you use it again?

4. How will individuals react to the session?

Some of your players will respond negatively to certain sessions you run. If you know your players well you should be able to spot problems before they arise.

5. Is it simple or complex?

How much guidance do you need to give your players? Sometimes simple is best. If it is complex make sure you explain it carefully before the players have to go and do it.

6. Are you reviewing work already covered?

If you are revisiting work, you need to quickly get the session going and work your players at the level you worked at when you last ran the session – they know the topic so the understanding should already be there.

7. During the session does it feel right?

Your gut feeling is often a good indicator as to whether or not the session is working. If it is, great, make a note of what went right. If not, don’t despair. Write down what went wrong and change it next time.

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