During my time coaching in England, there were so many lessons. One of the biggest learnings I took away was a better understanding of how to develop individuals within the group. I believe, whatever the level, our role is to ensure that we do our absolute best to cater to the needs of every player within the group.
So how do we go about it?
Firstly, know your players. Whether this is a simple 1 to 1 meeting at the start of the season, the development of an individual plan, a player survey or establishing connections with parents to better understand their child, we have to know as much as possible about the players in our care.
From here, we can understand what they feel they are best at, what they’d like to work on and develop connection. Once the player knows that you truly care, have their best interests at heart and want to support them, trust can be built quickly.
Next, it’s about bringing it to life on the grass, and to do this there are many solutions.
Some of you may have seen an example of “drive by coaching” to set an individual target for a player on our social channels a couple of weeks ago (check it out below). This is just one practical way of ensuring you’re working on individual objectives in your practice. You may also encourage things like peer to peer feedback, manipulate sessions to ensure players get an appropriate challenge relative to their needs, or simply spend time one on one reflecting with them on their performance.
Managing difference in any team culture is critical, and the ideas above are simple steps to beginning the process of supporting every player in your group.
Three things to consider.
- How well do you know your players, what their super-strengths are and areas that they may want to improve?
- Have you spoken to the player’s parents about them to better understand who they are as a person?
- Do you have a process around individual plans or targets? This can be one pager that you work on with players, or as simple as getting players to set a target on a flipchart and determine after the game if they have achieved it.
One thing for you to try this week.
Engage a player in a discussion around their goals on and off the pitch. Whether they want to improve their passing, feel they are an electric dribbler or have ambitions to lead, you can support your players with all of these things by putting them in positions where they are exposed or challenged in-line with their goals.
One critical resource on the topic.
Check out this new PDP Guide on managing difference and mixed player motivations at training with the PDP Team and grassroots coaches from our community.