How your interventions my restrict learning opportunities for players?

We all love coaching. When we are out on the grass working with young players, most of us wants best for them. Under coaching umbrella, we communicate, demonstrate, plan, manage and use interventions as a tool to help children improve their game. This could mean increasing players learning or limited opportunities to do so. How?

1. The type and timing of your interventions will have an impact on how players interpret different situations.

Understanding when to intervene and what type of intervention to use in any given moment is a high-level skill. Badly timing intervention will interrupt young players learning process. More often, that not coaches rush to stop the session to show their (adults) interpretation of game situation. By doing so, we won’t be able to see young player thought process and his/her interpretation of the same game situation. In other words, players won’t be even given the opportunity to make mistakes and learn from it. This will have negative impact on players learning. In addition, coaches need to be aware what type of intervention they are going to use and have strategy how and why to use it? Questions may be a great teaching tool. They can challenge players to think. They can help check and understanding players knowledge. On the other hand, overdo the use of questioning can significantly limited children learning. How? Well, use of general questions rather than specific ones. Asking to many leads to confusion and less understanding. Stopping entire group when your question is aimed at individual player only. These are just few examples.

2. Do you know the reason for your intervention?

Most of the time, coaches would like to show how much they know rather than using interventions for learning. Is fair to say that, coaches often stop the session, without taking to account young players and their learning process. How different intervention would be, only if we understand learning reason behind it! Our intervention will be effective if we know how our players learn and why they behave on the pitch the way they did? Then we will be specific, intentional and aim at particular player learning challenge.

3. Non-coaching intervention takes away precious learning time from our players

The amount of time we spent for explaining, demonstrating, organizing must be kept to bear minimum in order to let players playing and learning. To often we rob players from their learning opportunities by doing more non-essential interventions rather than less.

4. Do the players actually need our intervention?

My coaching experiences thought me a lot of good lessons, one of which was young players can learn without us. Learning doesn’t require constant coaching. Children have enormous potential for learning and we must give them space to do just that. I make no apology by saying again: less is more! That is why if you don’t have a good learning reason to intervene, let the players enjoy the game they love.