Celebrating small successes
November 14, 2011 Leave a comment
We’ve had a player at our club since the summer and whether it was in training or during a match he just wanted to smash the ball as soon as it arrived at his feet and clearly this was something I wanted him to develop. He’s strong for his age-group and had demonstrated glimpses of being comfortable on the ball but he’d generally just kick the ball as far as he could whether we were playing a 2v2 game or playing a friendly game.
To try and develop him I took an opportunity to talk to him at a point when he’d lumped the ball forward during a practice match. I took him to one side briefly and asked him what he could have done differently and was happy when he replied, “Controlled it”. I then asked what he could then have done with the ball, to which he replied, “Pass it”. I think the second answer was him saying what I thought he wanted me to hear so I also told him he could dribble the ball forward if he wanted to. I didn’t want to make him feel like he HAD to control & pass it, he has to know he has options and learn to use his own judgement to decide what to do with the ball.
After covering this with him initially we had a couple of weeks without a game so I was able to take one or two more opportunities to talk to him when he choose to “hoof” the ball in training and remind him that he could control the ball and dribble or pass in certain circumstances.
When we finally got to match day I was keen to see whether he’d taken our training-ground conversations on board and was delighted when he turned in a really improved performance. Each time the ball came to him he controlled it and was then able to make a pass or dribble the ball forward – it was his best game for us. In addition to being pleased that he’d had a good game it was also great to hear others (parents etc) had also noticed his improved performance and told him that he’d had an excellent game, something which put a big smile on his face.
I took an opportunity after the game to re-enforce that he’d had a great game and that his decisions to control the ball were what had resulted in him having a good game. It was great to then see him put in another positive performance the week after (the weekend just gone) and his confidence had clearly developed as he was starting to take on more players and demonstrate a higher degree of confidence on the ball.
It’s an incredibly small success but it’s been very rewarding and I hope he continues to learn & progress. It’s my challenge as a coach to provide him the opportunities and environment to do this whilst also supporting the other players in our team.
I got in to youth coaching to help young players and it’s great when you feel you’re able to contribute small improvements to them as players which helps with their enjoyment of the game.