Learning in Development: Those who only know about football, don’t know about football

Footblogball pic 1

I recently started the Learning  In Development podcast series together with my good colleagues and friends Mike Whyatt (twitter) and Britain Thomas (twitter)

Over the coming weeks I aim to publish these podcasts on this blog and include some of my own personal notes and refelctions from the discussions.

To kick off, we invited in  Jordi Fernandez (twitter) and Isaac Oriol Guerrero (twitter) from FC Barcelona  as guests. We discussed the culture of coaching, coach education, player development and some of the culturally pervasive beliefs around learning in development that we need to unearth and investigate.

While the aim of this series of podcasts is not to present the ‘silver bullet’ answers, it is hoped that after listening we will leave these discussions with better questions (I know that I certainly have).

 

Apple Podcast: https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/session-design-planning-paradigm/id1507378548?i=1000471078827

 

  1. Challenging a culturally dominant planning paradigm that underpins many coach education programs around the world.
  • Coach decides the theme, breaks the session up in to fragments, decides how long each part will be and their sequential order
  • Can liberating coaches from these culturally resilient paradigms improve coach development and ultimately player development?
  • Are we over structuring our sessions? How much is too much? Are theme-based sessions giving away the answer?

Insights

A training session is just the expression of the coach and what he thinks his role is.

How the coach does a session is an emergent behavior of all the influences of context, of culture of society that ends up with me doing this as a coach. We need to understand how the role of the coach is perceived and why it’s perceived this way in this very context.

Most coaches have the intention of, “I am going to session to train solutions”. The coach’s planning, design, timing, interventions will therefore be related to their intentions, to the idea of “I am the provider of solutions

If we understand that coaches have a bigger impact in society, a bigger impact in the development of the child and that there is nothing measurable in front of you,  yet right now they measure what happens in the weekend (the result).

If we develop a context where these coaches see that the actual impact happens in 5 years’ time or even longer, that might change the mentality of the coach, and then the coach can attune him/herself to new possibilities within that session. If we change that lens from how the coach watches the session or sees his/her role then we can change many of thise things.

 

  1. Explicit top down game models being introduced earlier and earlier, where the coach gets the kids to practice predetermined passing patterns that they regurgitate in competitive games. Are children therefore only learning a model of the game as opposed to the game?

 Insights:

In the pay to play model (USA, Canada) there are parent expectations that are underpinned by what their understanding of what coaching is. So. a more passive coach may be viewed as someone that is not coaching. Coaches do identify themselves as providers of solutions.

Within each team there can be 20 different game models because of the players.

For us the most important thing is to observe the natural behavior of the players. In our work we try to use certain constraints around elements of space and time so that we can be open to observe the natural behaviour of the player. If we are very focused on one game model then we are only focusing on pre-determined established model for the player (a one size fits all approach).

 

  1. Should coaches see themselves as designers (architects of an environment)? The first feedback to the players should come from the session design and how the players interact (with information) informs the coach how he interacts with the learning space to add value.

Insights:

We have to challenge the status quo especially with regard to the idea of what feedback is. We of course need to change this.

Can we design context to create situations where the player decides so that they can connect their intentions with actions?  This requires patience as the player has to analyse their own feelings and emotions and we cannot be judging their actions too early. (players need to be given the opportunity to learn how to self-regulate their behaviours)

What coaches are doing with players is more or less what governing sports bodies, or federations or coach education institutions are doing with the coaches. It all comes with the culture of certainty and needing control. If we change the paradigm but implement it the same way that we have always done then we will probably still have the same issues.

It is not just the player that is learning, the coach is also learning and serving the community. We need an approach from both directions so that we are able to act on what is in front of us and not on what is established or what we think is right or wrong.

We can possibly learn more (about football) from attending a seminar on culture than one given by a professional coach

Those who only know about football, don’t know about football(Cesar Menotti)

  1. Football Interactions

The action is something that is isolated, when you are doing interactions, you are doing something because of your teammates and opponents. These interactions are situational, and also framed by cultural

 

  1. Learning is an active, ongoing process that happens in development

The role of the coach is to optimize their players, through their own optimisation (the coaches own learning in development).

Language that you use in your club material, in your daily interactions, can help your coaches to adjust their lens

The cultural context (for good and bad) plays a part in inviting  certain coach behaviours that we see today

 

RIP Bill Withers

3 thoughts on “Learning in Development: Those who only know about football, don’t know about football

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