Does your club have a “Coaches Plan”?
Not a ‘Coaching plan’ but a Coaches Plan!
Ever self respecting club would have some version of a Player Pathway or Coaching plan in some guise. These plans are invaluable for coaches to stick to a structure and assist less experienced coaches in formulating a plan of what to do, when to do it and sometimes, how to do it.
But what clubs often neglect is the coaches. Does your club have a plan for enhancing and up-skilling the coaches in the club to ensure they have a rewarding experience as a coach in our club?
“If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. If you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime”. Sometimes, handing a coach a Player Pathway/Coaching Plan and sending him/her on their merry way can feel like that saying.
A Player Pathway/Coaching Plan will make an incompetent coach competent. It might help a coach be maybe 60% of what they possibly could be.
How do we get that other 40%?
Clubs can startlooking to support coaches to be the best they can be by:
•Providing regular up-skilling opportunities. Some coaches through their personal or professional background are highly skilled in numerous areas, but others may not be. Can we provide opportunities for coaches to improve their communication skills, further evolve their coaching skills, develop into confident coaches, enhance their knowledge of the game and many other areas.
•Starting a community of practice among current and former coaches. Can we put the u8 and u9 coach together to discuss potential pitfalls that the U9 coach encountered? Can we get them sharing resources the may have? Can we get them to challenge each other on methods and structures? Develop coaches for the whole club, not just one individual team group.
•Mentoring program. Can we support our coaches by providing a more experienced mentor to work with them on a temporary or permanent basis? Can someone monitor a training session and provide opportunities for reflection and feedback?
•Carry out a Needs Analysis on current or former coaches. Talk to them, identify areas of weakness that they feel they may have? Coaching committee to monitor groups and provide assistance whenever they can.
•Reflective Practice. Educate the coaches in how to reflect and improve their coaching, in the training and match day environment. What is reflective practice? What methods are there?
•Progression. A lot of times, the main coaches of juvenile and youth teams are parents. What is the plan once their group progresses beyond minor? Are these coaches just lost to the club or are we continuing their coaching journey? Do they progress to the adult section or do we re-purpose them as expert juvenile coaches, as mentors to novice coaches or as community of practice leaders? If a coach has 10+ years of learnings and experiences, we really should try to utilise their learnings to continue involvement in some capacity.
I’m sure, with a small bit of discussion in your club, you will identify numerous other areas that can be targeted.
Remember, we can give the coach all the books and resources in the world but if they don’t acquire the soft skills (empathy, communication, caring etc) in some capacity, we are doing them and the children they coach, a disservice.