So what makes a good coach at any level but more importantly at grassroots level?
Foremost it is having a genuine desire to improve a child’s ability on an individual basis. The teams’ ability to perform will be a natural progression if you work on this.
So how do you improve a player who may be struggling? It is simple; you work more on a one to one basis with them. You involve them in 1v1 and 2v2 drills more often.
When it comes to matches, in all my time as a coach, I have hardly seen any rotation by an opposition manager of their players in terms of playing them in different areas of a pitch.
If you never ever play players in different positions at an early age, how are they going to learn different aspects of the game? I have heard some coaches say “He is our best defender” or “He is our best striker” That may be so at that particular stage in his or her development but what about the rest of the children in your team? Shouldn’t they get a chance to play in those areas of the pitch? The answer will be that they are not good enough. However the real answer is that as a coach you are not good enough. You cannot be bothered to develop the players, you have no patience, you want a readymade player but the bottom line is when you play a match, the chances are your team may lose if you don’t play your ‘star striker’ in his best position and that will be too much for your ego to take!
The above scenario happens more often than not. Coaches will tell players in their team that they must get the ball to “little Johnny” as quickly as they can. They will focus on the better players. What happens when these better players are not available, are you going to cancel the match because your ego cannot allow defeat?
Every year you will get clubs advertising for players by putting articles in papers regarding up and coming trials of their particular age group at their club. I have no issue with this if the club has no players in a particular age group or they need players because they are short of players for whatever reason that may be.
But why would a coach or manager advertise for trials if he or she already has enough players in that age group?
Again the answer is simple. They want to win things. They want readymade natural players. So what happens to the existing players? It may be that due to the influx of new players, the club may form another team in the same age group and some players may have to play for what will be considered the ‘B’ team. However the other scenario is that a player will simply have to go and find another club because the coach is more interested in success rather than development. The child eventually falls away from the sport through rejection.
The F.A did have some sense in introducing a rule for 7-a-side games where whenever there is a goal kick the opposition must retreat to the half way line. This was to encourage teams to play from the back. Yet you still see managers telling the keeper to kick the ball. The reason is fear; that if they get players to actually try and play they may lose the ball!! How stupid does that actually sound!
Well if we followed that philosophy in our own team, there is no doubt we would have won a lot more games. Develop players? No chance.
Because none of our players want to play in goal, we are constantly reminded by others that we have no goalkeeper. Our response is that we actually have 10!
We never ever force someone to go in goal at a young age because none of them want to play there so why should we. They take it in turns in each game to go in goal and even in that game they will rotate to play in goal. Imagine if we insisted that one of them must play in goal. What happens a few years down the line when he states that goalkeeping does not interest him any longer and that he wants to play outfield? Look at all that neglect of not coaching in the correct way.
So what constitutes a good coach?
- One who has the player’s interest at heart in terms of individual development.
- One who rotates players in different positions so they learn all aspects of the game.
- One who doesn’t go around advertising for players when he/she has enough anyway.
- One who allows players to express themselves and play without fear.
- One who puts winning secondary to development.
WHAT SORT OF COACH ARE YOU AND WHAT SORT OF COACH DOES YOUR CHILD PLAY FOR?
- IMPORTANT -
The Prince's Trust Get Started with Football programme with ASTON VILLA F.C.
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