Steven Poacher

STEVEN POACHER: Start the season with fresh ideas

THERE can be a misperception around coaches who offer coach education. Some on the outside think they are perceived experts but in fact it couldn’t be further from the truth.

I have always said that in my honest opinion there are no experts in coaching. My theory is that there are only coaches with experience, opinions and ideas. Some of these coaches are happy to share these experiences to help others because the reality is that sharing is learning.

Coaching is very like teaching; sharing good practice is an invaluable tool to have, you should never be afraid to learn off someone and to bounce ideas off each other. For me this is one of the most effective ways of learning and the drum I have consistently beat is the best resource we have as coaches is each other.

I don’t think coaching should be about qualifications or letters after your name, far from it, but coaches should be encouraged to learn and value learning. Qualifications and a nice certificate can certainly help but it’s the learning along the way that helps coaches become who they are and also enhances their qualities.

Learning opportunities can be offered through workshops, sample sessions, interactive sessions (both indoor and outdoor), possible mentorship or even templates of individual sessions or bulk programmes.

There are a huge variety of ways in which coaches can gain the opportunities to learn, but the coaches must be willing and ready to learn, that’s critical.

In the past I myself have headed over to professional rugby with Newport Dragons during the summer for a number of days to spend some valuable time under the wing of Bernard Jackman and getting to see first-hand what a professional set up is like. I have also been over to Scotland and England and spent some time at the training grounds of top level soccer clubs, the learning experience was invaluable.

This month every Wednesday evening from January 12 to January 26, I will be facilitating three pitch based sessions in St Joseph’s, Newry School from 7.30pm to 8.30pm all based around improving good coaching practice on the pitch.

First up next Wednesday is former AFL and Down star and current Down u-20 coach Martin Clarke who will be taking a session with myself.

Our first theme ‘scenario based training’ will look at building coaching sessions around specific game related situations including the high press, defending the counter attack, adding width and depth to your attack and winning break ball.

The second session on January 19 will be hosted by current Down development coach and former All-Star Benny Coulter. Benny and I will look at ‘Expanding a team’s transition play.’

We will demonstrate a variety of games to improve both offensive and defensive transitional play and also how to create and maximise scoring chances from this.

The final week, January 26, will be hosted by current Armagh senior football coach Ciaran McKeever and our theme will be ‘Tackling for success.’

Both Ciaran and I will demonstrate approximately eight tackling exercises and games, ranging from 1v1 to 7v7.

The evenings promise to be a brilliant opportunity for learning and for coaches to bring some excellent fresh ideas back to their pre-season.

Drop in on the night and the cost is £10 per person and all three evening start at 7.30pm sharp and the drills will be demonstrated by a group of players.

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