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PAUDIE KISSANE: Plan your way to improving your players

TOO often coaches measure their ability as a coach on only the win-rate of the team they are involved with.

Yes, naturally enough if you put in place a successful game-plan, improve your players technically or tactically, combined with appropriate physical conditioning, then obviously the team has potential to win more games.

Winning is more complex than that, particularly at under-age level. It could be quite clear that the team has improved, but because the team is in a very challenging grade there may be no trophies to show for it at the end of the year.

The number of players on the age and the physical maturity of the group can be factors here. Through the size factor alone other teams can just be too good. This can still be seen as success or progression though.

When reflecting on the 2022 season so far, a coach must ask themselves was time spent on improving players individually.

Players need to play games to improve their decision making and game awareness, but can training be structured better to ensure individually and collectively the team is better at end of this year? Don’t be that coach who puts all his or her focus on the stronger players because it’s easier and it makes you look like a good coach!

There will always be the strong players in the group who understand what the coach wants and quickly adapt to the training challenges. You have to make sure with the better players, are they better just because of their physical attributes or do they also possess good football ability? Have these players the movement and football potential to thrive at senior level?

The development of your weaker players can be a real indicator of the strength of your development program. This requires good planning in knowing your players plus having clarity in what you are trying to develop on the training ground. Spend time to plan your session and bring the plan with you.

Taking the session plan out of your pocket or folder should not be seen as a weakness and a sign that the coach doesn’t know what he is doing. Instead it should be a sign of good planning and attention to detail. Planning is the most important factor in any session plan. Write down what want to achieve tonight in training and how you are going to go about it.

There can be many distractions at training and a coach can be very busy demonstrating, observing and providing feedback. Having a simple session plan can ensure that extra bit of learning takes place and no time is wasted. Giving enough time to planning out your session will only improve your coaching ability.

In fact by going through the planning process alone, you will spot the gaps in your coaching.

Unless you have a reason for doing a certain drill game, understand why you are doing it, and have the ability to coach it well then you must question why it is in the session in the first place.

Yes it’s still ok to do a ‘drill’ in a session but it’s important to have some type of game activity, which could even be a 1v1 scenario. A drill can still be effective in building confidence and understanding – qualities which are required for player commitment and ultimate improvement.

The summer is fast approaching so no better time to reassess your role as a coach. Reflect, have a plan and give attention to all players.

Paudie Kissane | 087 7600658 | www.pkperformance.ie

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