Defining a Good or Bad Performance in Development Coaching - Lewis Craig

Another article provided to BFCN from Lewis Craig.

Defining a good or bad performance in development coaching

Your category three U13 academy side has just lost 5-0 to a category one side. Your U10 grassroots side had just won in the final of the county cup. Your Year 11 school team has just drawn 3-3 with local school rivals


These are scenarios that you have faced or will face as a coach. And like so many others we can predict that the cup winning coach believes their final performance was their best of the season and the Academy coach is down in the dumps after being embarrassed by the category one side.


However, when we dig deeper as ‘player developers’ how do we define or measure development and good individual or team performances?


‘For me its all about how we capture their engagement. If they are totally engaged within a session or matchday then good performances come out naturally.


It works the other way too. If players are not engaged then their mind starts to wonder and they lose interest. A lot of inexperienced coaches see this as it's just "naughty behaviour" or "they don't want to be here" When really it's coaches not understanding the needs of the players and how to engage them.’ (David Poncia)


David gears his thoughts around this to psychological and social development in players and individuals. Its intriguing how he and many others link the development to their engagement within the session. This is a great measure as for 99.9% of all humans this is the biggest things that sparks learning and development. We have to love it. We have to enjoy it. We have to want to go back for more.


‘When coaching development football, patience needs to be key. Young players who are learning the game will make errors like how a child will make mistakes at school.


Our job as development coaches is to understand where the error has come from and then look to correct.


A good performance comes from their effort to get involved in the game, regardless of whether things go right or wrong for them.


My experience from bad performances generally follows from when the young player gets flustered and frustrated that things aren't going right.’ (The Laptop Coach)


Once again, not too dissimilar to David, The Laptop Coach comments on ‘effort.’ Another psychological element that lends it hand to positive performance and development. In addition to this they make great comments around the role of the coach to be patient and the factor of ‘errors’ and making allowances for them. Sometimes the expectation of individuals can come form our experiences of watching Champions League football which is a culmination of all the learning gone on over years and years of each player on the pitch and their learning journey.


Lionel Messi goes past 3 players with ease, plays a one two and curls it in the top corner from the edge of the box;

- what did this look like at 9 years old in a play ground?

- What did this look like at 12 years old when playing against giant early developers?

- What did this look like at 14 when he had a coach that told him to pass off 2 touch?

- What did this look like when he was getting 2 and 3 minute sub appearance when trying to break into the first team?


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