Session Engagement

’Without engagement not much else is really possible’’

Picture the scene you have planned your session, spent ages drawing it up and on the day you feel like your having to work overtime to make it look anything like you imagined. Some players are not feeling it at all and mess around, others are finding it far too easy so what do you do?

Without engagement not much else is really possible, it is the glue that sticks your ideas, your coaching points and session plan together. As your coach education progresses the learning process of how to engage your learners will never stop. New ideas are always welcome and if you think outside the box many teaching websites hold lots of great information on engagement that you can feedback into your coaching world.

Engagement to myself and Dale would mean players enjoying themselves, are they motivated with the task you have put on, is their challenges that absorb individuals and groups to develop enthusiastic learning.

Of course its still hard, thats never in doubt with so many factors that can occur but coming out of what we call ‘lazy’ coaching is optional as a volunteer or paid coach. Just small steps can make the extra differences when putting on an engaged lesson. Lets be honest if you don’t feel your having to work harder then your group you may just enjoy it more, no?

We couldn't possibly list all the factors in this blog but here are a few steps we can take for a more engaged session.

1) Plan – It can be difficult as everyone has a busy life but as the old saying goes fail to prepare, prepare to fail. Usually without a plan in place the off the cuff coaching is a real art and if it seems messy to you it most likely is to the players.

2) Maximise your contact time – Read the great article from Matty Dye a few weeks ago. Be set up to move on to the next practice, try plan the management of your session. Less stoppage time more playing time!

3) Talk less! - Feedback does not just need to come from you. Players can work out their own learning in partners, groups and by analysing others. Step back, explore different learning styles and give yourself more time to go round and tweak little objectives and coaching points 1to1. Lots of teachers now use a 70:30 ratio in class. 70% pupil led, 30% teacher led.

4) Clear tasks – You should work towards your philosophy if your club has set one, or if you are working on a particular topic is what you are trying to coach worthwhile to the players?

Is what your doing clear, did you use a tactics board for a visual or demonstrate? Is it possible to reach the task objective or if its too easy to reach whats next for that player? All things to think about when planning or active within your session.

5) Challenge – Probably the most important one. A fundamental of Tecnica is that all players of different abilities are challenged. Not everyone is in the same place. For example your teaching ball mastery and one player can grasp a skill off just a demonstration, so you ask them to put it in a combination with another skill or how to use both feet to do it etc. However you have another player who can’t grasp it, so you break the skill down in small parts, run through it slowly and build repetition. Players need different ingredients at different times.

Competition and scenarios can also be crucial within sessions and knowing when to use it can be key. When the tempo is slowing down, players possibly becoming bored, use your competition wisely to come back on task and see the benefits!

Hopefully I have provided some information that can be useful. My advice would be don't be afraid to ask coaches for advice on how they manage sessions or see if you can observe. I still do that now, nobody knows everything and I like to believe the coaching community is one that can continue to help each other.


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