How to maximise player development
Contact time with players is precious.
Of course, it is imperative that practices are enjoyable, relevant, progressive and realistic, as is planning each session specifically to achieve an intended outcome.
Skilled coaches know in advance of each training session what aspects need to be learnt and understood by the players based on age, ability and specific themes.
How does the coach know what to focus on?
Our professional-coach-prepared practices help coaches find appropriate age and ability based themes that show what the practice can improve and the basis of the learning linking Learning Outcomes with specific Focus Areas.
The list of Focus Areas is offered for the coach to hone-in on the necessary key aspects that players may be lacking or that need refinement. This can be both technical or tactical improvement and the app content is designed as a prompt for coaches to ensure players have a good understanding of where, when, why, who and what.
In the example – 3v2 Attacking Four Goals, a Passing practice, the first two Focus Areas relate to angles and distances, and positional awareness of opponents.
Coaches observe whether the players are taking up suitable positions to receive the ball and what decisions the players passing the ball are making. If aspects need improvement, coaches can affect the learning by demonstration or explanation. It is important to allow the players to continue with the practice to evaluate whether the players have understood and are learning. Good practitioners follow this process as it instils the knowledge and ensures key learning aspects are covered in each practice.
If the coach is satisfied by the end of the session that the intended Focus Areas have been understood then the Learning Outcomes will have been achieved. If the coach feels that part of the learning has been understood, it is an ideal opportunity to plan similar sessions to maximise the players’ learning and to reinforce the key focus areas.
It should be noted that the more advanced practices generally have a higher number of focus areas. These may not necessarily be covered in just one practice. Recognition of why a particular practice was chosen, will give focus to the intended learning outcomes.
In addition to Focus Areas and Learning Outcomes, Key Factors are also included into all of our practices. This coach education standard provides quick prompts for coaches to ensure key coaching points are covered within each practice.