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Some time ago I had attended a coaching workshop. The opening quote from the tutor sounds more or less like this: ‘You may be a good coach, but you do have one common weakness. This is lack of simplicity’. I then almost immediately reflect on my own coaching sessions. I was reflecting upon the way I communicate, observe, demonstrate, listen, manage the young players and children I am working with on daily basis. Guess what? I quickly understand the first lesson of great coaches-the power of simplicity is fundamental. Here is why?
1. Do you time and time give your players information that they don’t really need?
Human brain is our computer and have its own memory capacity. Receiving to many information will eventually lead to freeze mode in which case lose the ability to process any information at all. Bombarding young players with your football knowledge means only one thing: Stop them think clearly and therefore stop their learning. Why? Because they have no space in their brain same as computer does not have space on hard disk! Tip 1-the key information is what is need it only so players can listen, understand and therefore learn from it!
2. Do you know the core idea you want to communicate to young players?
Many coaches I ‘ve come across misunderstanding important ideas with the most important one. They usually outline five or more tasks to the players without clearly focus which is the most important. In this case players again have a lot of information to take without clearly understand and learn the core idea, most important one. Tip 2-seek to translate you’re the most important message same way as you tweet. Short, simple, clear message!
3. I love equipment so kids can’t see that grass is actually green!
Cones, goals, mannequins, hurdles, speed ladders and God knows what else. Yes, I have been there too. Let me tell you, young players really only do need football and two goals to play, be happy and most importantly learn. Why then we can’t resist use more than learning brain required. Did you ever notice how players behave in first 15-20 minutes of your session with lots of equipment on it? Well let me tell you. They learn about the equipment not the outcome of the session. In addition, how much time does it take to explain all this for you as a coach? Tip 3-Less is actually more and great news for learning!
4. No to university lectures-super clear message is the key!
We do know that, yet still love to talk and preach most of the time with no any sense to players we coach or kids we are working with. Simple message is memorable, easy to remember and have positive effect on learning. My message to children is: ‘love the ball’. I repeat that consistently every time and is resonate in their little brain. Is it child friendly language also as opposed to ‘keep possession of the ball’?
Tip 4- Simple Information should be an inspiration
5. Lot’s of progressions in my sessions!
Have you ever had one or none progression in your session planning? I bet you had at least two. Now my question is do you plan progression to fill out the paper or do you plan them for players learning? Second option means human brain have the memory capacity to learn step by step. To many progressions simply means receiving to many information and therefore very little or no learning at all. Moreover, kids have to be ready for next progression. That means they did understand first one well enough before start learning next one. Tip-5-Is not about filling the paper, is about players capacity and ability to learn
6. Are you guilty of mixed messages?
How often we do say one thing and then do another? Mixed messages only confused players. Making effort to identified your core message and stick to it. In longer term these can be very powerful. Kids will understand it and in consequences learn from it.
Let me conclude with this quote if I may: ‘The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak ‘ -Hans Hofmann