Top 6 tips for a grassroots coach.

 

Grassroots coaching is extremely important when it comes to the development of a player and shaping their skills and techniques from the inception of their sporting career. Grassroots coaches will naturally take time to understand a player, spend time to get to know each of them, and to understand their styles before they can focus on how they can work with the players and help them grow individually. Coaches are experienced in achieving maximum coaching effectiveness with the understanding that while one technique will work for a player, it might not for another player.

No matter how experienced you are as a grassroots coach, there is always room for learning to achieve the mission of pushing yourself and your players to the next level. Here are top 6 tips to improve yourself as a grassroots coach.

  1.       Plan your sessions wisely

Time spent with each player is crucial and planning your sessions in detail is important. Sessions have to be utilized optimally. It is important to have a structure in terms of the sessions and drills and communicate it to players. Coaches can now use simple sports tech platforms such as Koach to seamlessly plan and communicate on the session plans.

  1.       Understand your players better

Put a conscious effort on a daily basis to understand your players individually as well as a team. Younger players have different styles and understanding what motivates them is important to have a successful session. Once you understand your players better, it will be easier to tailor training sessions to suit them more.

  1.       Benchmark with experienced coaches

Different coaches bring different strengths and techniques to the game, and it is equally important to study coaches who are the best in the industry. There are many things to learn from coaches who even have similar levels of experience, and understand how they put in their strengths to the game. It would also be great to invite other coaches to do a few training sessions as well. 

  1.       Focus on technical development

Players who are not technically sound will invariably affect the team’s performance. Improving the technical ability of the players is one of the key goals of a coach where many use platforms to track, analyze and communicate individual player performances with players as well as their parents. 

  1.       Evaluating performance is vital

As much as you spend time evaluating individual and team performance, it is important to evaluate your coaching style and techniques. Record yourself during training sessions, watch how you communicate with players, and observe how players react to your instructions. Are you tough enough, do you communicate well and do players understand your instructions? Watching how players react to your commands is key to  knowing and understanding your effectiveness as a coach.

  1.       Having a mission for the season

Whilst there are many expectations, you can have a set of goals or a mission in place for the season. Ensure you communicate this to players and parents at the start of the season so they will support you to achieve it by the end of the season. Not all goals need to be quantifiable, it is important to have goals on overall improvement as well to finish off a successful season. Getting continuous feedback throughout the season is also of paramount importance. You can read what our CEO Tariq had to say about the importance of year-long feedback here: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/importance-year-round-feedback-interactive-players-tariq-cassim-1c/

If your players aren’t smiling when they come off the pitch and if they seem not excited to attend the training session, you need to reevaluate your approach to the training sessions. Many play for enjoyment and to have fun so it is important not to lose sight of it. Whilst you provide a competitive training environment to facilitate their growth as players and individuals, it is very important that you make sure they have fun in the process!


How to tackle parental concerns when getting back to sports in the New Normal

With our worlds having been turned upside down during the last eighteen months, one thing is certain: people are eager to return to sports. Athletes are excited to leave the house and play ball again. Parents are relieved that their children are getting some much-needed exercise. We're all prepared, but our return to play won't be a return to normal, at least not right away.

Regardless of their level of concern, most, if not all, parents recognize that things will have to change in the future. There will be some safeguards to consider, new procedures will have to be implemented and health and safety will take precedence.

Some parents have offered their thoughts on the return to sports in the context of the new normal. The following are some of the concerns they had in mind.

The first expectation is that clubs and teams will take the situation seriously. This entails devising strategies and procedures to ensure that every participant is safe. Parents will feel more at ease knowing that their club has established clear practice and game-day protocols, as well as standards for all members to follow and a response plan in the event one amongst them tests positive for Covid. 

Ideally, and it goes without saying, members should be notified if someone tests positive or has been exposed to someone who has tested positive. Let everyone know how they'll hear from you and what actions you'll take, such as how long that member will be off the field and how long it'll take for them to get back.

Secondly, while everyone's contribution is important, parents want to know that coaches and volunteers who will be on the field or on the sidelines have been thoroughly trained on the new procedures which vary from between countries, regions and states. This will almost certainly entail ensuring that members undergo temperature checks and health assessments before entering the field, as well as adhering to social distancing and masking standards that are practiced in your state region or country. 

Thirdly, Parents anticipate clubs will rethink where, when, and how their children return to the field. It is typical to be concerned about competing outside of the state or even the country. For the time being it will be prudent to look for opportunities to attend local activities instead of traveling. To reduce the number of people who must be present at any given moment, schedule games throughout the day or week and spread practices among fields as much as possible. You will certainly be reducing the number of players on the field. Consider changing the pace of play and avoiding excessive physical contact or proximity, such as huddles.

Last but not the least, adapting to change is inevitable. As recommendations, rules, and criteria continue to evolve, your strategies and practices will have to change to keep up with them. Remember that no plan is flawless. What works today might not work tomorrow. The best you can do is keep an eye on what's going on in your neighborhood and listen to what your stakeholders have to say.