The Pain Barrier of Development - Lewis Craig

Another great article contributed to BFCN by Lewis Craig.

When does coaching become ‘coaching?’ This question has been mulling over in my head over the last few years when individually working with players. But the real purpose of the blog is to delve into the moments where you find an area of weakness or an area of development in a player and you hone in on the detail and the distress of breaking the individual down to them build them back up again to then see that next step in progression.


In simple terms, a lot of coaches can identify problems in an individual's performance really well. The next step is a key area in player development…HOW? How are you now, as a coach, going to teach, support, advise, help and ultimately drag that individual through the turmoil of developing a key aspect of their game to reap the benefits further down the line when you see that moment where the ‘penny drops’ or that ‘lightbulb’ moment. But also understand that sometimes that moment doesn’t come - some individuals just naturally progress and you have to take a step back to observe or depend on third party observations comments and observations to see the fruits of yours and the individual's work.


As a 1 to 1 coach you get in depth and intensive opportunities to work with individuals and really expose them to areas of development. When in this environment of coach and player then social and psychological aspects are key. When do you scold? When do you hammer home the key detail in developing the area? But when do you balance it with taking it a little easier and creating a more relaxed approach. Of course, it depends on the individual's character and their own motivation, but how does the coach recognise how to work and what to work on at the right times? The support is a major factor. Although, you may be really exposing a weakness and adding detail after detail and creating a pressured and intense aspect of a session; they still need to know you care. Are you doing it for the right reasons? Make sure the individuals know this.


Work along the spectrum of coaching styles and be clever in vocabulary and practice design. Can you design certain parts that make the player do the thing that they need to work on without you giving them direct instruction? This is difficult in 1 to 1 coaching but can be achieved with detailed planning. In team sessions you can set up other player subtly to challenge the player indirectly and then hone in from a supporting angle to seek new ways of the player trying to solve the problem in front of them.


Also, use your staff - or people with certain expertise. You may be trying to develop something technically in someone's game but actually, physically then can't produce that particular movement. Interlink to two discipline in order to provide the sufficient support and don’t be afraid to play around with ideas and creative things to add a new dimension to your approach.


There is no better feeling for a coach than seeing genuine development in an individual that you have persisted with. This socially creates a bond but then psychologically sets that individual

up for life by working in a way to never give up on developing a small detail and they may carry this into the real world…


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