• Luke Towning

Is your child being over-coached?

‘I’m through on goal, I’m about to smash this in the top corner…’

‘STOP. STAND STILL!’ Shouts the coach.

And there goes my enthusiasm…

THE most frustrating thing for a kid at football training is when the coach stops the session all the time.

Even more annoying is when they then have to listen to a coach bang on about something that the players could have worked out themselves if only they were allowed to let the session flow.

This is as true for a 6-year-old as it is for an adult player (like me in my example above when I used to play – although I very rarely found the top corner in any training session 😆).

There’s a fine line between a coach actually saying something that benefits the players and the coach simply showing the watching parents that they know their stuff.

➡️ If football was meant to be taught like that it would be taught in a classroom.

Kids need to play the game, make mistakes and learn from them. That is how learning is done.

Of course, as coaches, we will intervene when we need to but there is a way of doing it so that it doesn’t impact enjoyment or learning.

It’s like driving lessons.

➡️ Learning to drive would be a lot harder if an instructor simply stopped the car every 2 minutes to show you how much they know about driving a car.

This is something we at Foot-Tech are very conscious off.

Our coaches are taught to let the drills be the teacher and only stop the session when absolutely necessary.

Even then they can only stop it for 30 seconds to a minute – any longer and their coaching points simply won’t be taken in.

We’ve wrestled with it for a while…

How does it look to parents?

Would they like us to stop the session more?

But sometimes you have to stick to your guns because you know it is for the greater good of the children.

Instead of stopping the WHOLE session we might have a quick word with an individual player to give them some advice.

We might talk whilst the players are in the middle of their drills to give advice and guidance.

As long as the drills are of the right quality and everyone understands what they are doing then it is normally fine.

Either way, it is about learning and development and our belief is that children learn faster from doing than they do from just listening.

If your child plays for a team or is involved in other football sessions just watch and see what happens if the coach is stopping it all the time for no real reason.

Every minute stopped could be a minute extra of actually getting better at football.

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