This month on the Modern Soccer Coach Worldwide Mentorship Programme we have been looking at communication and how it is an essential tool for any successful coach.
Following on from defining our Coaching Philosophy last month, the communication piece has been both challenging and hugely interesting at the same time.
I have always tried to make a conscious effort to think about what I will say to players before a session, and to also about de-brief questions to ensure the players understand the session objectives.
Same applies for match days, I would have a couple of simple points that I want to get across to the players pre-match, then we always de-brief at the end of the game.
What this month has made me more aware of is that there are so many more opportunities to effectively communicate with players. Whether that’s general chit-chat before training, before getting on the bus for match day or even taking 60 seconds before a game to explain clearly to a player what my plan is for him or her in the upcoming game.
Especially with younger players, those informal chats before a training session helps to give an opportunity to better understand the player, see what teams they are watching and generally to engage in football chat together. This in turn helps give me an idea of the type of football they enjoy and which players they may aspire to be like which contributes to my future planning.
Every interaction with a player is equally important and how we handle those opportunities can determine whether players buy in to what you’re trying to do.
Communication on the pitch
Our first Webinar this month was with Gérard Jones where we looked at “Communication on the pitch”.
Gérard spoke to us about:
- How to define a game-style
- Coaching vocabulary
- Improving player communication
- Consideration for non-verbal cues
One thing which I found interesting about this discussion was creating Game Calls. A common language between coaches and players that relate to your style of play.
For example, we would often use the cue “Open up” with our players. They understand that this means to open their body shape and look for width on either side of the pitch.
By developing a common language it helps to get your philosophy across and provide clarity for everyone involved.
Communication off the pitch
Our second webinar was with the excellent Donna Fishter where we discussed off-field communication.
We looked at the concept of “People first”, “Person next” and “Player last”.
Donna spoke about how every human being needs Safety, Mattering and Belonging. By getting to know our players as “People first” and taking time to listen to them it helps give them as sense of purpose and self worth within the group.
“Communication is connection”
A simple thing which I took from the webinar was to always speak to the player by name. Consciously make an effort to welcome each individual player to training and on match day by
quite simply using their name.
“They have to buy into you before they listen to what you teach”.
Putting it into practice
Communication is difficult, it can often include having tough conversations which sometimes are easier to avoid than to deal with.
One of the main benefits of the MSC Programme is having a mentor to chat with about your day to day coaching and learning from their experience.
I had a great discussion with my mentor Bobby this month about being clear with players about their roles on match day. This is something I have already been able to put into practice and has been well received by players.
In addition to the content from the MSC Programme this month I have also been reading The Future Coach by Tom Bates which has tied in nicely with the communication theme. A great read, I would highly recommend it!
We’re coming towards to business end of the season so there are plenty of sessions and games to look froward to.
Looking forward to getting into our next topic on the programme for March.
Thanks for reading.