Coaching refers to the training, teaching or development practices used to help and support the individuals/teams with the intention of accomplishing one specific outcome or goal. The term coaching may also be used informally for a person who has gained greater skills or expertise than others and as a result, he is in a position to offers his experience to assist or guide the learning individual. The learning individual is often referred as coachee or trainee and the skilled person is recognized as a coach.
Coaches often use their notebooks in order to assist themselves in maintaining and standardizing the dealings and procedures. As a coach, one needs to maintain the record of player’s performance and other relevant details. A coach notebook is handy in this regard as it helps coaches in gathering the player’s details, developing plans and schedules, preparing courses and reviewing the educational materials. Likewise, a trainee can refers to a coach notebook as an instructor’s manual which facilitates him both during his training period and also afterwards.
This coach notebook underlines the ten different sections that are considered essentials to offer coaching practices for both coaches and the learning individuals/trainees. These sections overlap with each other in their significance and should be reviewed in coherence to develop better understanding.
- First meeting agenda
In the first meeting, the coach needs to get himself familiar with the team players and their parents. As a coach, one needs to know the new players names and may be the names of their guardians/parents. He should keep this process interactive so as to make it likely that all players get to know each other in this first meeting.
- Coaching Rules.
The coach needs to give an introductory presentation to the team players. They may be informed about the venue of their regular teaching/training courses. He should tell his team players about the basic rules and various practices such as what are they suppose to bring, what are they suppose to wear and where will be their break timings.
- Paper work
The coach will collect the basic information such as phone numbers, addresses and other relevant details from guardians/parents, and can also inform them about the practice schedule of the entire season. The parents are required to sign a medical release form in order to expedite the process of treatment in case of emergency. You may also get a first day feedback from the players about what they aspire to learn, how do they look forward to the training and what are their future goals. Lastly, give a brief summary sheet to the parents what you intend to do as a coach, the practice schedule including the location of the field and what will be the potential outcomes during a certain time period.
If there is a need of an assistant coach, one or more volunteers should be recruited in the first day’s meeting. You may need their help to better communicate with the team members.
Finally, the teams should be assigned some task or homework just to check their motivation and commitment. You may also ask them to come up with an idea of choosing their team name, for example.
- Coaching philosophy
As a coach, you need to prioritize tasks according to all the potential targets of your team. Not every single match is a final, and not all the targets have the same value and importance. One needs to be flexible about his/her coaching approach. It should be kept in mind that the players want to play sports, to enjoy the game and to have fun. The coach should teach and guide the players but up to a certain level and then, let them figure out the best suitable approach. Also give them time to learn and let them grow.
The major theme of coaching philosophy comprised of three major objectives: creating a winning team, helping the players to have fun, and motivating them to develop physical, social and mental capabilities. However, to be a successful and winning coach, there is no precise philosophy that works for everyone and ensures the victory for all teams in all circumstances. Underlying idea of successful coaching philosophy is to coach young people to become successful players, to work in a team and above all to become successful human beings (Weistra T).
- Team discipline
One of the greatest challenges for a coach is to maintain team discipline. Team discipline starts right from the day one of your coaching. Starting from the very first team meeting, if someone is not following the protocols of team discussions, send him out of the room. Since, team meeting is significant in discussing issues and problems related to the day-to-day operations of team, no one would like to skip this important proceeding. This will help you in setting the tone early and also ascertains your control and credibility (Duncan R).
Other disciplinary issues may include tracking and monitoring the necessary paper work, daily attendance, warm-up and stretching routines, or even making it certain that proper dress code is followed during the training sessions. Any little issue that can make players realize that they are all supposed to follow the same rule as the member of team is a good thing and it will help to instill team discipline. It is important to note that any broken rules should be dealt strictly according to team policies and across the board for each player.
Team work craves discipline and it is equally essential for players as well as the coaching staff. If you break your own rules then expect no one to follow them. You should work with your coaching assistants and get their insight on discipline issues. Make it sure that assistant coaches support the team rules and policies. In case of any ill-discipline by coaching staff, try to avoid arguments in front of players as it can have negative impact on their performance.
- Team policy
Team policy is another important aspect of training team players. Imagine a situation where there is no clear team policy, how much chaos it can create among the team players as well as between the team and the coach. On the other hand, if there is a unified answer to the issues that arise among individuals, it makes the work quite easier for the coach. Team policies should be written and made public and you may refer to these policies off and on during the team in order to create awareness. This can help team players to learn these policies and thus allowing them to comply with the rules and regulations.
- Practice plan
As a coach, you are supposed to help people plan their future. If you are not determined to define your work and plan your own future, how can you anticipate your team players to do what you ask of them? Make it your first test and plan your own ideas and job before anything. Planning a team practice is extremely important, as a practice without a plan is most likely to crumble because of the ease of distraction. In order to keep practices on task, first of all you need to pick a practicing area where there is no disturbance from traffic and other teams and where you can implement your ideas on your own. Then, you are suppose to clearly state the purpose of your practice plan, that is, you need to enlist the long term vision and milestones.
After setting your goals, you need to highlight all the operations. This may include process, technology, procedures, work flows, lectures and other sort of operational activities that are vital in helping out your practice plan. Moreover, it is very important to choose what skills you want your players to work on before each session. You are also required to know how you are going to organize the practice sessions, what warm-up, stretching routines and drills you are about to use, and how long each of these session should last and how you will make transition from one practice session to the next next. Finally, try to keep record of your practice plan but instead of writing your complete practice plan, it is better to highlight each activity on a postcard as brevity is the best rule.
- Twelve months calendar
As mentioned earlier, it is important to realize that not all games are finals. You need to mark your calendar with important competition dates and also the milestones you have cleared out in your practice plan. Divide the calendar year in three distinct phases; pre-season training, in-season training and off-season training. Accordingly, you need to adjust your coaching classes as well. Make sure to keep yourself updated about all the important events of season. However, you need to focus more on individual player development rather than just focusing on team events as players are your strength. You are required to plan the fitness regime of your players for whole season. Don’t overburden your players and keep them fit for their respective games.
- Strategy philosophy
Depending on the age of team players, different kind of skills-set can be used and you need to modify your teaching strategy accordingly. You should use different teaching materials, courses, videos and lectures to facilitate your team players according to their age group. You need to practice and review the old skills taught earlier, together with the introduction of new ones. Respect should be the hallmark of any game. As a coach, you need to instill this quality and there should be mutual respect for each team member.
- Training /fitness /nutrition plan
Fitness plan is important for your team players as nutrition supply sustained energy, physical easiness and fitness, and allow players to concentrate and apply mental focus for the best execution of their skills and techniques. The amount, quality and type of food consumed by players should vary in accordance with the available time between their meals and next games. As a general rule, players should be made aware of the fact that spicy, fatty and rich-fiber food items can cause stomach disorders. Similarly, any product with caffeine can also be problematic. So, it's better to prohibit usage of such products on fields. On the other hand, doing exercise with optimal hydration level is always helpful. Players should drink fluid during exercise and fluid with carbohydrates after their game.
It is therefore realizable if you hire a nutritionist for your assistance. The nutritionist should work according to the players’ fitness level, help them recover more effectively from the injury period and take care of the overall diet requirements of each player before important fixtures. As a coach, you should form training programs for better sport performance of your team players and to guarantee their health and safety.
- Pre-season meeting agenda
Before the start of season, you need to organize your team line-ups and build the bench strength. You should arrange some healthy discussions in order to reinforce the skills they have learned under your coaching. At the time, you are in best position to tell them how to effectively utilize their strengths and how to overcome their weaknesses. You need to focus on teamwork rather than having a focus on winning. This will enhance their personal confidence as well as confidence among themselves.
- Player evaluation
Evaluating the player performance is one of the fundamental tasks for coaches. You need to assess their performance throughout the season; both in training sessions, during the games and also afterwards. You can take help from assistant coaches to keep track of the individual player’s accomplishments during each game. It can significantly help in praising your players and thus, to enhance their potentials. Moreover, it will also create healthy competitive environment among players. You should have an after game team talk and use this opportunity to praise the efforts of each player on the field. Engage your players in the discussion to have an idea where they feel they need improvement and implement this enhancement in your next practice plan.
An online coaching web blog has mentioned that one of the most commonly done mistakes by coaches is degrading your players. If the team didn't perform well, as a coach you are not supposed to degrade them by saying that 'my team didn't come ready to play' (“Coach Them with Confidence not Fear”).This is the most counterproductive thing a coach can do for his team and it will not help rather dismantle your cause.
It is noteworthy to keep in mind that in case you have lost your game, you should not lose your control as little things don’t matter now. It is insignificant now who threw the pitch and who did not, who must be in the strike zone and who must be defending the goal and/or whether the goal keeper was paying attention to the defender’s call? You need to realize that this is the best time you can motivate your players so you better need to feed them with what is called as ‘adrenaline speech’. Encourage your players with the words of confidence and tell them that they have the ability to fight back. Instead of yelling at players take responsibility of their mistakes; you may say that ' I didn't work hard'. These short statements on your behalf will just heighten their morale, lift up their confidence and next time they are more likely to perform well.
Duncan R. “Instilling Team Discipline”. National Federation of State High School Association (NFHS) Coaching Today. Online. Web. April 20 2013 http://www.nfhs.org/CoachingTodayContent.aspx?id=7019
Weistra T. “Coach’s Notebook – Planning for the After-Match". Badzine. Online. December 3, 2012 .Web. April 20 2013. http://www.badzine.net/features/coachs-notebook/coach%E2%80%99s-notebook-planning-for-the-after-match/22511/
“Coach them with Confidence not Fear”. Coaching little league baseball. Jan 30 2004. Web. April 20 2013. http://www.angelfire.com/oz/coaching/coach-index.htm