Coaching To Create Thinking Players
Sick of repeating yourself over and over again? Are your athletes making the same mistakes? Your messages may be clear and easy to understand but still they are not sinking in. It may not be your messages and it may not be your athletes. It is probably the way you are delivering your messages that is the problem. Or more to the point, the fact that you are the one delivering the messages.
Research has shown that it can take up to 7 times of telling an athlete a message before they completely understand it. That’s a long time. Especially when coaches have a lot of messages to get through. Add to that the limited time most coaches spend with their athletes and there aren’t going to be too many messages truly understood be seasons end.
Allow them to discover
Instead of telling your athletes the messages, it can be more effective to allow them to discover the messages by themselves. By allowing them to find answers rather than be told them, they are more likely to understand the first time. This self problem solving can rapidly improve athletes development. But how do we get our athletes to come up with the answers themselves?
The key to self problem solving is asking the right questions in the right scenarios. By creating intentional scenarios at training for example (ie specially designed training drills or games), coaches can create problems for the athletes. This then gives them an opportunity to recognise the problem and to search for a solution. Once a problem has been created and recognised the coach can then ask the right questions to get athletes to solve the problem by themselves.
To work effectively coaches may have to ask several layers of questions to get athletes thinking in the right direction. But as long as the coach allows the players to come up with and understand the answer themselves, the message is more likely to sink in sooner.
“I never teach my pupils, I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.”Albert Einstein
The button below will take you to an article by Dave Reynolds who goes into more detail on this method. In his article he outlines how you can create athletes that learn faster, solve problems and think more about the game they are playing.
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