An old MD I used to work for had a fantastically simply matrix which he measured every person on. There were only two two axis. Firstly there was technical competence. In simple terms, this is to have the knowledge, skills and experience to allow you to carry out your role effectively. This is generally acquired over the years through, education, training, gaining knowledge and applying it on the job. There is a continuum to it but it can be clearly measured and assessed. The other axis was the more crucial ‘behaviours’ Without knowledge that can be seen to be a bit more difficult to measure. However if you learn behavioural science and use data rather than perception (or as some people say just common sense) then it becomes easier to define and measure the behaviours that are being carried out.  We are into the realms of BF Skinner and all the data and research which has been done in this field. So let’s apply this to the beautiful game.

I have just started my ‘C’ licence and a very enjoyable experience so far. We have great tutors in Alan Morgan and Scott Kinross. They use their training and experience to quite clearly demonstrate competence in their field. Their job is to make us competent as coaches to hopefully go and impart this knowledge and skills to develop the next generation. All good so far. By definition the course is very technically driven and gives the coaches drills, practice sessions, organisation and basically the tools we need to do this. So we have scored pretty high on the technical competence axis. The other axis is now the area I want o focus on as a coach. How do I, as a coach, get my players to display the behaviours required to develop both myself as a coach and themselves as players. The key here is self-motivation and applying consequences. We now get into the realms of the science and move away from opinions, perception and good old common sense which I always here when people start to refer to science when they don’t understand the research that has gone on behind it. As coaches we are looking to inspire our players to go beyond what they think they can do. To do this we need to understand that consequences, drive behaviour and also are a result of the behaviour. We need to develop players who actively do things because they are seeking success rather than avoiding failure. There is a big difference. If we can do the former then we drive this self-motivation to get better and better, however if it is the latter then we will get short term results but run the risk of driving learned helplessness if it turns out they cannot do what is being asked.

So what improves self-motivation? Firstly being competent is key as that gives the player the confidence to do the work required. Secondly, selection of consequence. The player will ask. Is this worth doing? Lastly, they need to know they are part of the team. Good players help each other, they learn from each other. They have the courage to speak up and ask questions. They need to show humility to accept feedback. if you see these things in a player you are seeing the signs of self-motivation. Remember to reinforce this by providing feedback as that is the key to keeping this going.

There you have it a simple model. Try using a 1-10 scale and measure your players technical competence and also on a 1-10 scale try measuring self motivation using some of the areas covered. You now have a starting point and you can work out a plan how to improve both areas one step at a time. If you get them both to a 10 then we have helped developed the next Messi. Good luck!!


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