Winning vs Development?
Winning is fun and no one like losing. But winning isn’t everything. Especially with junior teams winning should rarely come into consideration when coaching. Even with senior teams winning should be a by-product of development, not necessarily a primary goal.
The Affects Of Getting It Wrong
In all sports we have seen junior coaches focusing too much on winning. Although the coach’s intentions are good, focusing on winning can have deferential effect on their players, their team and their club.
A focus on winning can affect the development of individual players by not giving them enough time to develop their skills and knowledge. If this occurs, it can affect their perception of their involvement. What are they getting out of playing their sport individually?
When winning is the focus players can be affected by game time. Are they getting enough game time to be enjoying what they are doing? Will they come back next season based on their contribution to the season?
By not focusing on development, the performance of the team can also suffer. Other teams will start to overtake yours by seasons end as they have continue to develop. The phrase “you are only as good as your worst player” is often very true. What will be the repercussions of not developing all your players across the length of the season? Will your “worst” player be able to stand up and make the right play when it really counts?
Whilst focusing on winning over development can have a negative impact on your players and team, it is the club that suffers the accumulative effect. Senior teams rely on junior players coming through the ranks and contributing to team success. Often senior coaches put a greater emphasis on winning and a lot more tactics come into play in senior sport. To make this possible, senior coaches require their players to be able to execute the basics of their chosen sport.
If junior players have not developed their skills and cannot execute to the expected level of senior players, then senior coaches have to shift their focus. Shifting focus from winning back to development to get their players up to scratch could set senior teams back several years .
How To Get The Balance Right
Junior coaches play an instrumental role in the senior clubs success. Their tenure can have a huge impact on the club for many years. But that impact can be either positive or negative. For this reason clubs should ensure they invest heavily in junior coaches and encourage development over winning.
Winning can definitely have its advantages, but is should never come at the expense of development. Especially with junior teams. By defining season’s success prior to the season starting and reflecting on that regularly, junior coaches will find that it is easier to remain focused on what’s important. That will assist in not get distracted by winning.
As there are always external and internal pressures on junior coaches, it is important that junior coaches communicate their priorities to parents and club officials early. As a junior coach, you need to make sure those who will create the most noise when not winning understand your focus. And how continuous development will ensure player and club success for a long time to come.
If you develop your players well, winning will become a by-product of your success.
“Do you know what my favourite part of the game is? The opportunity to play.”Mike Singletary
Below are some buttons to a couple of articles that discuss the choices coaches must make between winning and development. All ask some good questions and raise some great points. However Article 1, by Paul Cammarata, is something not only junior coaches should read, but also senior coaches, club officials and parents.
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