Jody Caudwell: Coaching the 'Why'

Hertfordshire FA’s County Coach Developer, Jody Caudwell talks about coaching with a purpose by putting your players first.
Developing Players –the 4 corner model:

With the implementation of the new coach education pathway and the embedding of the England DNA within that pathway; Plan Do Review’ becoming a main stay within coaching practice and behaviours.

The new coach education courses place emphasis on understanding the players the coach works with. Too many coaches will replicate sessions they have seen on the internet or on a website and then fail to consider if the particular practice is relevant or appropriate for the group of players they work with week in week out.

England DNA Blog - Jody Caudwell

On average a coach working with a group of players over a ten year period may have over 1000 hours to have an impact on their development; not always necessarily as a football player but also as a person too.

Consider practice in all four corners - (Technical ,Psychological, Social, Physical) - with your players. It’s imperative to developing holistic players who are technically good enough to play the game but who can also cope with the external pressures of playing the game whether that’s from 30,000 fans or vocal parents on the local park.

New FA Level 1 & 2 courses now include aspects of the previous Youth Modules and encourage coaches’ to think about each individual player in their squad. Putting the player at the centre of the four corner model and then considering in each corner what are their strengths and what are their development needs.

Session Planning - put the players first:

After carrying out this process coaches would have some reoccurring group themes and also some individual development points for the squad. It is at this point the coach should look at designing a scheme of work and practices with the players at the centre of their planning.

For example, if there are technical observations around the ability of players to defend 1v1 or outnumbered situations, then the coaching program may include training sessions with practices that help them address these themes.

This is also the point that the coach should look for sessions and videos online. The coach understands what sessions fit the player’s needs and can chose accordingly for the right reasons. Not because the sessions have the most views on youtube or look good on paper, but because they address the development needs of the players.

The Boot Room - Jody Caudwell

Some Coaches see Bayern Munich’s first team performing movements and techniques in a practice but then are puzzled that an U9s group don’t look the same when they try it. Do we consider that this may not be right for our players at that time? Can we make the practice and theme appropriate for the age and ability of our group

Session Planning – Social & Psychological

The social and psychological corners are sometimes the hardest to plan for coaches. Often we consider the technical and tactical elements but do we plan on how we will improve players’ communication in a practice?

Planning for this can take some consideration. We can set challenges for our players e.g. ‘can you recognise when to communicate with the midfielder to help you defend an attack?’

These challenges can be considered in the planning based on what the players in your squad need. However we must visit them during the session and after to share if they have achieved them.

 Jody’s Top Tip: Keep a log of the strengths and development needs of each player in your squad and watch them improve in both areas!

Coaching the ‘Why’

As coach educators we are spending more time with coaches in their environment with their players rather than on a course with 24 other coaches. This allows 1 to 1 discussion around their individual needs as well as understanding their players.

I will often ask the question ‘WHY did you do that? This is generally because they have done something right rather than wrong and actually I’m looking for it being linked to a specific player in their answer.

Recently on a visit with a coach from an FA Youth Module 3 course, I observed them deliver a practice which seemed to put the back four and the GK under a lot of pressure from the beginning. Generally we always advise to start the session easy and then progressively make practices harder.

The answer from the coach gave me a clear indication that the learning on the course was taking place back in their club. They had considered there GK needed practice playing out from the back. By asking them to try to do this while outnumbered he accepted they may have less success initially but would have to work hard to find space to receive the ball from the GK.

The GK would also have to concentrate and recognise when it was on to pass to one of the players on his team. After a period of time the coach evened up the teams. The practice then ended with multiple successful demonstrations of playing out through the GK in a game situation.

When reflecting after the coach said he had considered the GK needed to recognise when to play out and also struggled with concentration in training. This also was WHY he had started with a harder challenge.

The GK also finished the session feeling success and went away with a high self-esteem as appose to less success if he had finished with harder part of the practice. This for me was an excellent example of a coach coaching the ‘WHY’.

 Click here to watch on mobile devices.

Ask yourself the question at your next training session why am I doing this and who is it for?

If the answer is about your players you generally won’t be far away from developing them in the right way. Afterwards ask yourself:

  • Did they improve?
  • What do they need next time to keep improving? 

For more information on Hertfordshire FA Coach Education please click here.

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