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Home » Groups » Welcome and General » blogs » Blake Richardson » Flagging up key periods of development in a newly formed team
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Rob Maaye, Jon Wyse and 2 others like this.

Comments (2)


My only concern with this approach, is that setting such low goals can be very condescending. Here you may have had 12 complete novices to work with, so they might not have appreciated just how low a bar you were setting. But this is not an approach that normally would work. One of the most difficult things I find in coaching minority sports is integrating players of varying abilities, as they have varying expectations of themselves. You will often need to take very small steps with the majority of your players, and once the club is going 2-3 years, the steps come together and players grow in how proficient they are. But in the meantime you can have 4 types of joiner:
- ones who are completely naive about organised sports in general, yours included
- ones who are also completely naive about the specific sport but have participated in others, so at least have a reference point
- ones who have played organised sport to a high level and have a passing understanding of this one, and expect to succeed quickly, be challenged regularly, and to have high expectations
- ones who already know the sport, perhaps joining from other clubs, also with higher expectations of themself and the team generally.
I maintain you cannot coach to the lowest denominator, and the article states that new joiners learn one small bit of the puzzle so they can gradually integrate. Thats perfect. But if you got 8 new people, 2 of each of the types I've described above, you can't give those people a target of completing a pass.
There's also an argument that, once settled after a period of time in the sport, aims should be set that sometimes will not be met, allowing for a more thorough period of reflection that otherwise is an opportunity lost.
The above comment aside, this was a great read and its good to have people share these sorts of experiences, and importantly how they structured their coaching philosophy and skills to a project in this way.

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Hi Coach
Thanks for the feedback. I'm glad you enjoyed it!
With regards to the goals, the idea is that it is all contextual and the goals related to specific tournaments or matches. So the goal of completing a pass was specific to that context/environment at that time given they were facing opposition that was bigger, faster, stronger, more athletic, and more experienced. They all knew that the completion of a pass was the most basic level - and they knew they could do it - but for them it wasn't condescending. If anything it was something to celebrate that they had gone onto the field against that opposition and executed what they needed to do in order to have a success. It gave them that small mental victory that "hey, we can do this!" and set them up to then go on and have a fantastic day, in which they exceeded everything we imagined. The goals then became fluid and developed with them - getting to halfway (meaning that they had sustained good plays not just one off) and then scoring. It also allowed them to go back to the group as a whole with a validation of the training they were doing.

As we entered the Opal series our goals were then very different. While we had tested ourselves against some established male opposition the women's game was a complete unknown to us. So, while we were quietly confident, we felt that setting a goal based on victories or points was not appropriate. Without wanting to pre-empt the 2nd instalment, we chose a different set of goals that reflected what we wanted to get out of the tournament. Now we are at the finals day they are different again, and reflect the growing development of the players both in terms of ability and confidence.

With regards to training and individuals - yes, completely agree. The need to balance a wide range of ability/knowledge levels is a constant issue (especially at the lower levels) and not just confined to our sport - when you get players from all different backgrounds/histories. Here, even within the same drill goals will be different. A new player might have the initial goal of just lining up correctly and running the route correctly, while a more advanced player would be challenged on eye position/focus, more advanced body control, different releases from the line, going against press coverage etc...As the new player develops then these get added into her reps. This could be within the same training session (if they learn fast, or show they can be pushed) or over a couple of weeks (if they need time to develop confidence).

 · Maha El Nasser likes this.
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