NICK BAKER: All players have complex, diverse, and individual needs. Effective coaches are able to analyse these learning needs and plan for effective learning journeys for each player. This video focuses on the role of the coach in addressing players’ learning needs.
SPEAKER 1: So the blue team defend that lane and try and get into this end.
SPEAKER 2: I think these two will work quite well together. If you can move that orange cone on to the halfway, that would be great as well. Thanks for that.
SPEAKER 1: The pitch we’re going to use is, if you imagine the black– bit around the outside
SPEAKER 3: And one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight.
SPEAKER 4: And we’re going to–
SPEAKER 2: Tell me about some of your favourite players.
SPEAKER 5: Okay, you might do a little skill or move out, so show me some little turning skills. Well done, boys. That’s really good stuff.
SPEAKER 6: Love that little turn. Brilliant.
SPEAKER 5: Just relax here a minute. Really good. Really good. I like you’re looking over your shoulder. Your challenge now is, once you pass the ball out, can you go and find another ball.
SPEAKER 7: That’s exactly what I’m after. Who on your team do you think you could really help out and give some advice to?
SPEAKER 8: Ball comes in. Little step back. Good. And then he plays it into space. Good.
SPEAKER 9: Good turn, Josh. Lucky, good feet. Well done. Great feet. You’ve got it. You’ve got it.
SPEAKER 10: Good. Ten seconds left.
SPEAKER 11: Great strike.
NICK BAKER: Evidence shows that coaches are the greatest source of variance in a session. Therefore, how we coach, how we act, and how we organise learning and behaviour is important. By definition, an effective coach is a coach who can see learning through the eyes of their players, and who is able to create a learning environment, where players become more confident to express themselves. This might be what we would associate with player centred learning, although as you will see on this course, we want to move beyond this label, as simply seeing the coach as the guide on the side, or where they just give players more choice. In fact, the coach plays a very active role in the learning environment.
SPEAKER 12: I’d just tell them to make sure that they’re giving the right advice to their players and making sure that they all feel comfortable in their environment with their team, and they know what they’re doing.
SPEAKER 13: You can let them choose what they want to do, and help them, so it’s not just a fixed transaction where they have no input on it, they have a say in it an what you’re doing to improve them.
SPEAKER 14: Make sure that the girl or boy is comfortable with what they’re doing and what they’re training on, and see the differences between all of us, and learn the positions as well, and don’t put too much pressure on the girls.
SPEAKER 15: To probably not stress out too much.
SPEAKER 16: Always listen to the players as well, don’t just– like maybe if you’re worried about how you want to set the team up or you feel like it’s working the same, like speak to the players and say, look, what’s going wrong? What do we need to do to make it better? And things like that.
SPEAKER 17: Don’t put too many rules in place. And let them get on with the game.
SPEAKER 14: Make sure you prompt the girls to do the best, and make sure that they’re giving 100% and don’t put too much pressure on them, but make sure that you’re giving them enough advice, that could help them through the game.
SPEAKER 13: You’ve got freedom to tell them what you need to learn, so they can help you improve on it.
NICK BAKER: Player-centered approach means identifying the needs of your players first. Specifically, what types of learning goals are required for all individual players to make rapid progress in your sessions? What coaching approaches are required for all players to achieve? What types of support do your players need to develop creativity? In the following video, Tony Carr discusses his approach in developing good habits and pictures in young players.
SPEAKER 18: What influenced the way that you thought about practise, and why did you use those types of practises, as being beneficial?
TONY CARR: Well, I always felt that if young players could play in areas, and be comfortable in tight areas, with their control and their vision, and their choice of pass, I always felt when the game opened up into the 11th of 11, that they would have the knowledge that they can receive the ball in any area, in respect that they’d be comfortable with it. And it was always trying to produce, before the ball arrives, to get a picture in your head of where the next pass is going to go. So wherever you are on the pitch, you’re constantly scanning the pitch, by checking your shoulders and being aware of the space around you or lack of it.
And when that ball arrives with you, that one, you feel comfortable it was a tight area and you could play one or two touch, or you had the ability to sense that you had the time and space maybe to run with the ball, get your head up and play that longer pass. So it was just trying to make players be more aware spatially of what time and space they had on the pitch. So my pet the thing at that time, we used to do a lot of possession football, wasn’t always just playing in a square or something, it was directional, so there was an attacking area and a defending area.
But my thoughts at that time, which was drummed into me from the senior staff, was if you can get them to play in tight areas and play sharp and quick, and get good habits and pictures, when it come to the bigger pitch, they’ll be more equipped to deal with it. So that was the philosophy there, in that respect, and that’s what we were trying to achieve.
NICK BAKER: It is clear from watching FA Youth coaches and listening to young players and Tony Carr, that coaches need to understand their players in constructing an environment where creativity can flourish. And later in the course, we will identify some mechanisms to help you in this process. But for now, the key message is that an effective coach is a coach who begins with their players’ needs first.