What I Learned from the FA Behavioural Management Masterclass-“Safe Place” Coaching
It is vital for a coach to provide their players with a “safe” and comfortable environment where everyone can achieve success rather than a high stressed environment with unrealistic expectations of the players.
A “safe” futbol environment should include but is not limited to the following:
-Learning (must inspire learning in all aspects and for all levels)
-Mistakes (that are dealt with appropriately by coach, making sure to not embarrass but to influence positive change and correction)
-Correction (provide opportunities for players to self correct a mistake prior to your interference. DO NOT correct player and/or team after an isolated incident or event, correction should be made when several similar mistakes were made consistently)
-Pressure (the pressure put on the players and/or team must match the player ability and development level; you must consider that expecting results from your players is very different than expecting them to “try” something that may be challenging. If you give your players an option to “try” something, you have provided them with an opportunity to be challenged without putting additional pressure on them to pass or fail.)
-Difficulty(the difficulty of the skills, directions, drills, and individual decision making should match the players’ abilities and development levels. If the difficulty is too low or too high then you will likely see misbehavior, acting out, and an overall appearance of disinterest from your players.)
-Expectations (a good coach gives clear and realistic expectations that are raised as player and/or team ability increases; a coach must implement phrases such as “try it” or “try to” when giving instructions to inspire and motivate players to take on a challenge rather than demand of them that they “must” perform. Coaches who use phrases like “try to” or “try it” gain more cooperation and focus from their players due to the minimal pressure of “trying” something, this way players are not afraid to fail because “trying” gives them leeway.)
Consequently, when coaches demand their players to do something or tell their players they “must” follow a specific rule then the players begin to have an imminent fear of failing. Unfortunately for some players, the fear of failing has far greater impact on performance than the skill and/or instruction itself, but it is important that coaches DO NOT put unnecessary pressure on players.
A “safe place” is created when a coach inspires learning, welcomes mistakes, promotes self-correction, minimizes unnecessary pressure, develops confidence, encompasses expectations, provides opportunities for players to be challenged, and motivates players to think individually and make independent decisions.
As coaches it is our responsibility to accomodate all players to the best of our ability so that the player can develop and reach their full potential in Football. As important as Football may be to our lives, we as coaches must also remain focused on long-term achievements of our players, so it is our responsibility to assist them into their role as a productive citizen in society.
Anyone can call themselves a coach; anyone can read some material, and stand in front of some footballers giving a speech about the game. But what makes a real coach is the the countless hours put towards preparation and their ability to provide all players with an environment that inspires learning, and the uncanny ability to burning inside of them to help others succeed. Coaches are very different than that. Everything coaches do must have reason, purpose, and heart.
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