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A player’s performance

Apr 24 2017

Have you ever wondered what a child thinks before, during and after a game? With experience as both a player and a coach, I have noticed that a positive attitude goes a long way both on and off the pitch. I’m a strong believer that success depends on more than just a player’s physical capability, that both passion and a positive mind set leads to an all-round better performance.

During my sessions, I aim to bring this attitude out in each player. I’m a supporter of positive reinforcement, that if hard work is commended by myself, the kid would feel more confident in themselves and want to succeed more often. For example, specific shooting drills can often go one way or another. If the player was off target, noticing what was also done well will pick up kid’s attitude before they feel disheartened.

A positive mind-set is just as important for the individual as it is for the rest of the team. If one player has a constant negative attitude and isn’t putting in the effort to try and do well, the whole team is affected and a session isn’t as successful as it could be. I believe team talks are effective before each session to set an uplifting tone to try and encourage the kid’s to believe in themselves and perform to the best of their combined ability. Making sure each kid learns as much as they can in each session and makes use of their time in training.

It’s very important to give the players positive feedback as it leads to the player feeling more confident, leading to increased success. In this case it’s not just giving the individual confidence but the belief that what they put into the session they will get out of it. This positive mind-set will hopefully bounce between each individual in the group resulting in the most productive session possible.

To summarise, I believe that at any age a positive mind-set is key for an individual’s progression in football. Observing as a coach, if a player is constantly listening and gives their all in every session, there will be a very noticeable progression in the child’s performance and development as an aspiring football player.

Kids Football Homework

Jan 06 2017

HOMEWORK – football – HOMEWORK – football – HOMEWORK – football – HOMEWORK

The Problem – Remembering
Has anyone ever heard of Junior Football Players being given football homework? Well, my team love their football but most struggle to remember the things we have done at the training session which adversely affects what we do on match day. I often reaffirm at training that it is important to listen, understand, practice, remember and apply what we have learnt or practiced on match day.

On a training day, a training session is chosen where we talk about what we are doing, why we are doing it and when we need to apply it, ensuring the benefits and outcomes are highlighted. At the end of training we always review what we have learnt and practiced where I specifically ask the players for their feedback and assess their understanding.

I found some time ago that my players were not remembering our training sessions and pretty much attended to kick a ball around and robotically go through the motions of training with a smile on their faces.

The Solution – Football Homework
I then thought about how I could work towards solving this problem. It dawned on me that I could model what schools do to try and make their children remember what they had been taught once the children had left school and gone home, yes Homework but to be specific Football Homework!

The idea is to take the new concept of football homework, keep it very simple to start with, communicate it clearly and get both players and parents to buy into it. What the term ”homework” means and what benefits it achieves didn’t need explaining as this is not new but “Football Homework” did as this is a new concept for the children and parents to understand.

At a very simple level, I just want children to understand how important it is to remember what they have been learning and practicing and remember why they have been doing it and to apply again and again on match day.

Then let’s review.
So how does this work?
1.    The children are told they will be set homework after each and every training session so they are aware & ready.
2.    I remind the children during the training session that they need to remember what we are doing as homework will be set so they are reminded as they learn and practice.
3.    At the end of training we review what we have done which takes the format of the coach asking questions about what we have been doing, why we have been doing it and when we will be applying it and the children respond accordingly.
4.    I set the homework for that evening for each player to explain to their parents / family members what they have been doing at training and why they have been doing it and when they need to apply it.
5.    Because the concept is very new, I am only looking for small steps to be taken at this point. So, even if the child explains very little and gets bits wrong, it doesn’t matter at this early stage as the first and second steps have already been taken i.e. the child has followed and remembered a simple instruction to talk to their parent / family members about football training and secondly deem the football training important enough to talk to their parent family. The start to remembering – Result.
6.    In time, the child will be able to enhance their ability to explain to their parent / family members about what they have been doing at football training and their choice of football terminology will improve and method of explanation will become more sophisticated.
7.    How do I know the homework has been done? Before training began, I asked one of my players whether they had done their homework and very politely they said NO. I asked why and they said they had forgotten. This is natural as the concept is new. I noted this and had some reaffirming done. Other players said yes but how do I really know whether they have done their homework.
8.    The key lies with the parents. I have texted the above to parents and communicated this to them on match day – after the game – whilst they were all present. The support from parents in anything I do whilst managing a team is essential. To move forward and improve – players, parents and coaches all need to work hard together and share the coaches’ football philosophy. Parents are continually asked to prompt – possibly subtly prompt – their player at home to explain what they have been doing in training if the player forgets.

I am continually checking and reviewing how the new concept of football homework can be improved and will be looking to get some feedback from the players and parents as part of my next review.

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