Yesterday we posted the first five coaching tips which can be found here. Now the part you’ve all been waiting for, tips six through to ten. Enjoy!
- Three Second Game
- Netball and ultimate already use this in their sports, but using a three second rule can be beneficial to improving decision making. Some coaches may argue that intelligent and quick decision making in a game is more of an instinct than something that can be taught – but it’s a poor excuse. Excellent players will have that natural decision making but you can improve it in other players, and it seems that coaches who refuse to believe that can never actually suggest a way to improve it.
- In a match (either full team or reduced numbers), have one coach count to three each time the ball is in a player’s possession; players should be moving the ball on ‘two’, and if it’s not been passed by ‘three’ then the opposing team is given a free.
- Increase the traffic
- This tip is by far my favourite to employ near the end of training on a Friday at 9pm when the team just wants to go home and get ready to party. Have multiple drills running (can be the same or different ones) then once players are adjusted to them, bring the sets closer together so players not only have to concentrate on their own drill, but the other one too to make them aware of the space. Just beware of collisions!
- Good communication skills are vital to teams, but the best partnerships – think the Two-Headed Monster or Xavi and Iniesta – say that they just know where the other player will be and don’t have to talk much
- Start a game, let it flow then play it for five minutes in complete silence – no talking to the referee, no calling for passes, no reminding to mark. Any communication results in a free for the opposite team. It forces players to focus and it can make them frustrated (hence why only short bursts should be used).
- What can you add?
- Being a substitute player can suck – nobody wants to live on the bench. Substitutes might be brought on due to another’s injury, other times to change the game – and how can a coach encourage a substitute to have an instant impact? Ask the substitute ‘what can you add to the game?’ What do you bring to the game that the first team player doesn’t? It provides focus and motivation.
- Opportunity vs Time
- This isn’t a tip I’ve employed but definitely one I should consider. A Gaelic football coach from the 90s substituted players or had them switch positions early on in the game, and when asked why he didn’t let them have more time to settle into the game, he explained that time had little to do with his decision.
I only count opportunities not time.
- If a player has 4 opportunities to win a tackle but loses three of them then they need to be changed before their confidence is shattered – it didn’t matter if this occurs over a five minute period or an entire first half. The switch isn’t to say the player isn’t good enough, only that this isn’t your spot today so we’ll try you somewhere else.
A final piece of advice: a coaching session needs to hit the four principles listed below and these tips roughly cover each area. Coaches need to know their sport, be knowledgeable, offer advice, be flexible, but importantly be supportive – no matter what level or age coached.