I have always strived to try and find the perfect template to help me plan a coaching session. When undertaking the FA Level 2 or FA Youth Award courses, the session plans are very detailed which is great, but as a volunteer coach with a demanding full-time job I feel that I need to balance the thirst for detail with a simpler, quicker template to design and plan.
My latest ideas on this are below. They incorporate a lot of the three/four-point checklists that I have learned over the years and aim to help me ensure my sessions are well planned, deliver what the players need yet are simple enough to allow me to fit them into a busy working week. Let me know if you have any comments, good or bad, and how you would improve on this?
Firstly, to introduce the checklists I will use:
What, why, when and how?
Before, during and after.
Constant, Variable and random.
Repetition, Relevant and realistic?
I try to deal with the what, why, when and how to make sure the players understand the context. What we are practicing, why that is important, when you would use the skill in a game and how you correctly execute that skill (the coaching points.)
I use an app called Edufii (edufii.com) and will send a short video message to the players on the Monday before training on a Wednesday to outline the what, why, when and how and sometimes the key coaching points to help them all get on the same page before training starts. When coaching younger age groups, and assuming you can get the support of the parents, this is a very helpful way of dripping some information into each player one-on-one, when they are not distracted by the balls and their team-mates at training.
So if I was planning a session on turning that might look like this:
What? Turning to play forwards.
Why? To enable you to play forwards more quickly.
When? You are receiving the ball.
How? This is when the coaching detail comes in and when I switch to a before, during, after model. Before is what you need to think about or do before you receive the ball. During deals with the actual turn and after what you do once you have successfully executed the turn. So that might look like this:
Before (you receive the ball):
> Scan behind you – where is the space?
> Consider – Move towards the ball to make space to receive?
> Body shape – open or closed?
> How many touches do you need: One, two, more?
Weight of touch?
Direction of touch?
First touch should make your second touch easy.
Decide – pass, shoot or travel with the ball?
So I now know what we are doing, why we are doing it, when it would be done in a game and how that skill should be executed. It is now time to allocate the way I will run the time I have for this session. I have 1 hour and 15 minutes on a Wednesday and I plan that time as follows:
1.Warm-up / arrival game (with a turning focus) – 10 mins
2.Turning game one – (variable) (20)
4.Turning game two – (variable, progressing to random) – 20 mins
(Drinks/ social breaks interspersed adding up to 10 minutes)
Once I have planned the session, I then look at my session check list to see if anything needs to be amended or improved. That session check list looks like this:
Is there enough Repetition of the learning focus?
Is it Relevant to the players?
Is it Realistic to what they will experience in a game?
Is there an element of competition to motivate the players?
Is there an element of decision-making?
Is it simple to understand and fun to play?
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