Out of the Darkness

A number of people respond to my blogs by saying it was ‘thought provoking’. I always appreciate the compliment as it is usually followed by a positive comment. Where I want to get to is ‘action provoking’. Thinking is great but it must be a prelude to an action. I have had a few people saying they have used some of the principles and ideas in this blog to improve their own situation. This is really what I am trying to achieve. Can coaching and learning be the catalyst for change in our own individual lives?

As the season comes to a close, I am already planning for next season both as a club and as an individual coach. I am dropping back to one of our younger teams to help them make the transition form 7-a-side to 11-a-side. Our experience tells us that this is the most difficult jump to make as there are so many different factors in play. I have coached at the 11-a-side level for the last 3 years. I have made loads of mistakes and it has been a real roller-coaster but wouldn’t have missed any of it. I believe I am now in a great position to take all the learning from these years and put it to good use and hopefully avoid some of the pot-holes I went down. Having spent many contemplative hours reviewing my performance over these years, my first big lesson was that the problems created were mine. It’s always easy (and lazy) to blame some player, a coach, a parent or some other person but if we are honest with ourselves then the problem lies within. Taking ownership is the secret to addressing this first issue.

Another personal learning point for me is to make changes incrementally. I have mentioned the 1% Rule before. I know myself well and I love the big change…..doing it differently (revolution not evolution) but that doesn’t always take everyone with you. We need to change (I need to change) but it needs to be shaped step by step.. Build the routine and keep improving it daily. I have loads of ideas and try and use the James Altucher ’10 ideas a day’ process to strengthen this muscle. The key for me is to take one idea and work constantly to improve it rather than the scattergun approach of trying to implement them all.

One of my over-riding values is to be a lifelong learner. Whether I do it well is for others to judge but I am committed to this value. I think it is now accepted that one of the best ways to learn is to teach. Therefore, I am going to try and actualize this. My new team will be a journey for all of us (myself included). Learning from the past, I want to create learners, decision-makers, good people and ultimately great footballers.

‘Out of the Darkness and into the Light’ might be a bit extreme for some but a journey where we all can learn from each other might just be that enlightening experience we all crave. Most readers will enjoy this journey vicariously but I would invite others to join in. Come out of the cave and join in the discussion and learning. Don’t hide your own light. Say it out loud and let’s all learn together!!


Out of the Darkness

3 thoughts on “Out of the Darkness

  1. Sid says:

    Technique training – and I mean correct technique training is a given for all of my athletes, but they have to do it properly David. It has transformed my athletes and it only takes 10-20 minutes per training session. Improvements are measurable and reinforcing for the athletes – they improve their ability to run faster by learning how to sprint; they’re ability to jump higher (and further) by learning how to jump. Sprinting is not fast running, it’s a technique. Jumping how the Olympians jump, is not how you learn to jump from a child. Instilling correct technique in a 9 year old will reap benefits for the 11 year old and beyond. !% a time? How about 1 drill at a time – until it’s learnt to perfection, then move on to the next one? We have wonderful opportunities to shape our charges. Like you, I am my biggest critic. If I fail, they fail and I cannot fail. 1 drill at a time……

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good Point Sid. I am a great believer if they want to learn to play football then they play football. Not running laps or standing in lines.It needs to be age appropriate and we are working on putting a curriculum together which really looks at individual player development. As you say, if we don’t get the correct technique at 9yo then they are already behind when they get to 11yo. I have done sessions lately when we have just concentrated in getting up to 1,000 touches in the session compare this to a game when a player maybe touches the ball between 10-20 during the match. failure doesn’t bother me too much but lack of learning does.

      Thanks for the leaving a comment Sid, it is always good to have feedback.


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