Coaching is fundamentally about people.
Over the last two decades or so I have forgotten a lot of scores, but I could tell you hundreds of stories about the pIayers I have coached at all ages. Whether it’s young professionals who have emerged through the academy system, or the school kids I worked with as a first-time coach, I remember so much about the people involved.
Current Middlesbrough 1st Team Coach, Aaron Danks spoke of the importance of ‘connection before correction’ in his Masterclass Discussion with the PDP team while working as England U20 coach.
It’s easy in our week to week coaching to get caught up in development, session planning, team performance or the tactical areas of the game we need to address. However, what’s often more important are the skills it takes to connect and relate to people from a variety of backgrounds.
For many young people, sport is about far more than the results, but about belonging to a group, a team or a club so as coaches we need to learn as much as possible about them to facilitate that connection.
Two things to consider.
- Do you know where your players go to school, who their favourite player is, what other sports they play or what their family background is. If you don’t, I’d encourage you to ask.
- Can you plan a session using the 4 corner model which focuses exclusively on social outcomes?
One thing for you to try this week.
Consider, how well do you know your players beyond the game? You might want to survey your players and find out more about their lives away from the training ground, or implement an individual learning plan that can help guide them throughout the season. This process and these conversations can be a revelation.
One critical resource on the topic.
Check out this article from coach and psychology expert, Jonny McMurtry on the power of true connection and transformational leadership.