The team at PDP have been providing coach education content to a global community of coaches for a decade. In that time, we’ve spent a lot of time asking coaches what they want, how we can better serve them, and experimenting with various types of content including interviews, research reviews, guides, and more.
This means that over the last ten years, we have tried dozens of new projects (some of which have failed), all with the goal of solving critical problems for coaches.
In this article, I want to tell you about a new initiative that could be our most exciting yet… After our initial testing, the PDP team can’t wait to see what happens next.
Over the years, there has been one type of content that we produce, which significantly surpasses all others in popularity: session plans.
In the online coaching space, session plans seem to have become the answer to every question for a lot of coaches. Downloadable session plans are routinely shared among coaches, and access to a session plan library can be a significant driver for people to join PDP.
Session planning is undoubtedly a critical part of coaching. It’s vital to ensure your sessions challenge your players, deliver good outcomes for the individuals in your team, and most importantly, keep the players engaged and having fun.
Downloading a free PDF with a hundred session plans is not necessarily the answer to this problem. Sessions need to cater to the age and stage of the players, meaning that all session plans will need to be adapted by the coach in some way to suit their team. For coaches to effectively plan sessions that meet the needs of their players, they may need to learn about the fundamentals of session design, which takes time – something many coaches don’t have.
The majority of coaches are working full-time jobs, have kids, and are generally busy people. So asking that they enrol in coach education courses, or spend several hours digesting our coaching content to learn how to design great sessions is, for some, unrealistic.
To further illustrate the demand for session plans, we’ve been running a global coaching quiz for the past 2 years to better understand the challenges coaches face and how we can provide support. The quiz has been completed by thousands of coaches from diverse backgrounds and with varied levels of coaching experience.
60.8% of all coaches who completed the quiz said that their #1 most urgent problem is ‘Session Planning, preparation and training activities’. A distant second was ‘Game day: planning, player management and tactics’ with 13.7%.
So how can we ensure time-poor coaches have the tools they need to run great sessions for their players, without using inappropriate session plans or having to spend dozens of hours learning?
Introducing Coach Frank.
Coach Frank is your new AI coaching assistant, trained on the entire PDP content library.
Frank is an amalgamation of the several hundred professional coaches and coach educators who have contributed to Player Development Project over the past decade. When you add it all up, Frank has hundreds of years of coaching experience.
Every article, interview, session plan or research review on PDP is captured and considered when he does what he does best – instantly design quality session plans, customised for you.
He’s always on call, he lives on your smartphone, and he can design a brand new session plan for you in seconds, based on the exact scenario you have in front of you.
How does Coach Frank work?
Have you got sixteen 11-year-olds looking at you, wondering what fun, engaging session you’re about to put on for them, but you’ve given it ZERO thought after a busy day?
Enter, Coach Frank.
With just 5 variables, Frank will create a custom session plan in seconds:
1. How old are your players?
2. What is the key focus of your session?
3. How long will your session be?
4. How many players will attend?
5. How physically challenging should your session be?
Frank then scans the entire PDP website for the perfect resources to draw upon, uses his extraordinary AI knowledge and artfully constructs an original 3-5 part session, and guides you through every step of running it.
Coach Frank always includes how to set up each activity, how each activity works, variations (how to make it easier or harder), and any key communication points you can make to your players.
And if you don’t like any part of the session, he won’t be offended. He’ll just magic up a new one for you.
And every session Frank creates for you will be saved in your Session History so you can use it again anytime.
Coach Frank is well-versed in fundamental coaching principles and uses a voice that PDP coaches will find familiar. He focuses on making practices look like the game wherever possible, and ensures sessions are fun and challenging for the players.
We’ve also briefed Coach Frank with thousands of words of coaching background and research, to ensure the sessions he creates are well-structured and take into account good coaching practice.
How do I get access to Coach Frank?
In the coming weeks, we will distribute a beta version of the app to a select group of coaches, in return for some feedback on how we can make it better.
I need to be clear here – this is the very first version of the app which will undoubtedly need additional features added, and it might even have some bugs in it.
The sessions Coach Frank currently outputs are about 80% solid, but being driven by AI, it sometimes makes mistakes. We’re working hard to refine and improve the output. Considering the speed at which AI is developing, expect Frank to learn and deliver with ever-increasing quality.
Our goal is to see if you like Coach Frank, gather feedback on your experience, and make it better. If we have enough interest from our community, we will launch it to the world in the next couple of months.
To be honest, we just want to see if other coaches think Coach Frank is as cool as we do…
Sign up for early access
If you’re a coach at any level of the game, who is interested in testing an innovative new coaching tool, we would love to have you on our team to help us develop and refine Coach Frank.
Enter your details in the form below to become a tester and you will get early access to the app. We’ll get back to you with instructions as soon as possible.
Coach Frank is a free mobile app, that will soon be available on Apple and Android phones, and takes seconds to get started.
If our testing is successful, we expect it to be available through the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store in the first few months of 2024.
And if it all fails horribly, you can expect this post to be quietly removed…
Yours in coaching.
PDP Co-Founder and CEO.