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Player Focused Approach to Coaching at Beacon Hill Rovers
by Coaching and Development Officer Merfyn Roberts
Get started from the first minute by using an Arrival Activity. Give it a time frame, make it open and achievable. Value it by linking any outcomes to the main part of the session. Give them time to socialise whilst they do the Activity.
Let them play. Focus on the ones doing the learning; notice them, praise, smile. Use target language to engage the players.
Give ownership of the activity to the players. Discuss an outline with them and let them set it up. Give them responsibility. Use open questions to check understanding. Review the set up with the players. Use visual, auditory and kinaesthetic delivery styles.
Set up group work, paired work, individual work. Set clear expectations, use time frames, vary methods for taking feedback.
Make your coaching a no-fail zone. Negative feedback just closes the learning brain down, especially in adolescents. Employ player self-assessment of progress. Allow mistakes to happen, watch what happens next. The activity should allow opportunities for the situation to be repeated: success equals focus praise, repeated mistakes results in the coach either giving a coaching point to the whole group or take the target player to one side whilst rest of players continue with activity.
Vary the pace. Chunk it – create lots of beginnings – take frequent breaks. Use mini-summaries throughout the session, refer visually back to a previous aspect of the learning. Give time for players to reflect on their learning. Let them chat.
Get the players to apply something they have just learnt. Can they teach someone else? You, for example?
Use music to connect the logic and creative sides of the learning brain.
Have high expectations of behaviour. Establish rules and responsibilities to give clear boundaries. Create a safe place for the players, be consistent and fair. Employ a range of behaviour intervention strategies that put the focus on the learning rather than the behaviour. Develop key words, phrases and scripts that help us to manage our own behaviour in challenging circumstances.
Finish with a purposeful, positive ending. Give yourself time to reflect. It was their session; they pack away. Set the tone for when they come back to you. Give them something to take away: feedback from this and previous sessions, sow some seeds about the next session.


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