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Looking back to go forward



COACH LEE GARLICK IS AN EXPERIENCED YOUTH COACH, QUALIFIED WITH UEFA A LICENCE, FA ADVANCED YOUTH AWARD & BSC (HONS) SPORTS & EXERCISE SCIENCE. HE IS CURRENTLY HEAD OF COACHING & COACH MENTOR WITH EXPERIENCE OF COACHING & MENTORING FROM GRASS ROOTS TO THE PROFESSIONAL GAME. Follow him at coachgarlick.co.uk .

Reflection, probably the most neglected tool in self development. Speaking from a personal perspective it’s fair to say this is an area I am weak at, especially in comparison to planning. In the build up to a session I will spend a considerable amount of time designing my practices, thinking about the questions I will pose and the words I will say. I’ll think about the physical challenges, how I can develop the cognitive ability of my players and what indicators of success I may see during my delivery.

But that’s it. I’ll deliver the session, and I’ll be onto the next. Often that’s the nature of the beast, with a hectic schedule and other commitments it’s all too easy to focus forward.

But this is holding me back. And I’m sure the same may be said about you? Now don’t get me wrong, I regularly evaluate my performance when delivering, I’m sure we all do, but this is usually via a quick chat to colleagues after the session or on the way home in the car. I’ll have that gut feeling of “wow that was great” or “jeez, I won’t be trying that again”, but is this really enough? Am I really learning from my own performance, much like I’d ask of my players?

My honest answer; no.

Why not? I have recently come to believe that this could be down to the fact that I have no specific structure or method to my reflective practice.

So, moving forward I will be implementing a few key actions worth the aim of improving my ability to reflect on my performance as a coach. Initially I will be following the process outlined below:

  • Prioritise – Make reflection a priority, either immediately after the session or the following day.

  • Ink it don’t think it – Get something down on paper (or voice note whilst driving home). Thoughts, feelings, diagrams, anything that will allow me to revisit.

  • Structure – When doing my reflection, follow a sequence or structure to capture a variety of responses. This could be something as simple as “What went well”, “even better if” and “changes for next time”.

  • Positives – Find the positives. Often I (and I guess maybe you also) am very harsh on myself. Building on positives is just as important as working on weaknesses.

  • Action – Write down logical and achievable steps to enable change. Put times and dates to make myself accountable.

  • Revisit – Take the time to go back and re-read reflections.

Hopefully by having this process in place I will be able to reflect effectively and implement change (or continue to build on my strengths).

I encourage you to give this a go (or a version which may work better for you) in order to further your coaching. I strongly feel this is an area I have neglected, and I’m genuinely excited to see what this process beholds.



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