By Paudie Kissane
THE GAA season is already moving along at rapid pace and it’s a surreal feeling realising the inter county provincial campaigns are only a few weeks away with the very competitive National Leagues reaching an exciting conclusion.
There has never been more exposure of our games on TV and there have been some very enjoyable games viewed over the last few months.
This is no doubt been helped by settled weather, good pitches, well prepared teams and more importantly teams of similar ability competing against each other in every division. Obviously then the link of league to championship has added an extra spice.
All this exposure to our national games can create excitement in itself among the club coaches and players alike. Coaches are looking forward to trying out new ideas and making players better while players are just mad to play games.
As a coach trying out new ideas is a good thing but too much of it is a bad thing! Twitter is brilliant regards the free information or ideas you have access to as a coach but too many are ruled by other people’s ideas or opinions when they are not really sure what they are trying to develop themselves.
You have to be sure of what plan you are trying to develop among your players.
This can evolve over time but unless we get this initial part right you may end up with loads of training and activity but limited improvement. This can lead to a paralysis by analysis when reviewing ideas elsewhere. Ask yourself is this drill or game linked to the way our team wants to play or improving the role of an individual player?
Too often the coach gets bored before the players. They then assume that variety equals improvement or worse again think variety equals good coaching! The players then are experiencing something new whether that be a drill, condition, game, scenario or role in a game and naturally enough the execution can be poor. Once a player gets consistent exposure in the right environment the performance will improve.
The coach though doesn’t allow the player to fail and either berates them for getting it wrong or immediately provides the player with the solution. Falling into the trap of training versus coaching. The coach then is wondering why there is no improvement in performance come match day or over a period of time. Results are left to chance rather than a consequence of good preparation.
Some players actually don’t mind it as some do not like the struggle of getting better at something which ultimately involves an element of poor performance to begin with. Ultimately though you are not making the difference as you aspire to do, as a coach.
When players do improve performance, praise them and tell them what they have improved at, in essence catch them being good. It’s something really effective but the problem is when coaches are too busy making noise for the sake of it! We can all be guilty of delivering the ‘well done’ monologue. It makes the coach and player feel good but over time its only noise which takes the players attention or focus away from the game and actually improving.
Lastly as coaches we can be so focused on what players are doing on the ball that we ignore completely what players are doing off the ball. E.g. if the goalkeeper get all the blame for the poor kick-out or the player in possession gets all the blame for the poor decision on the ball. Yes obviously both players must take responsibility but on many occasions they are not the guilty party!
There is some great coaching ongoing but nevertheless there are common mistakes happening at all levels which can limit improvement. Coaches have a plan and understand it while ensuring the fun comes from the pursuit of improvement rather than just variety.
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