We are now officially in the ‘Silly Season’ As the season comes to an end for loads of grassroots clubs, coaches now look ahead to next season. The dreams and aspirations at the start of the season have made way for the ego to kick in. Over the last few weeks I have heard loads of stories from the sublime to the ridiculous. We have players moving to new clubs, players dropping out the game, coaches moving clubs and all surrounded by rumour and innuendo of tapping/poaching/enticing/tempting players to join clubs. It is great fun to observe across a variety of ages but it really sums up how much we value our own players if our only goal is to have a stronger team to ‘win the league’ etc.
I am proud of my club and the people within it. We have just produced our own philosophy and curriculum which is really pleasing as it really drills down into how we are to achieve individual player development. All comments received from coaches so far have been positive so our aim is to ensure it is rolled out effectively across the club. I am under no illusions that not everyone will agree with it but I believe it will guide coaches on how to deal with their players to get this development. Hopefully our coaches are not engaging in ‘silly season’ tactics. Almost all our coaches are parent coaches. They start with great intentions to see their own son/daughter do well in a wider group. This is great and many carry on and do great coaching. They develop themselves as a coach. They watch how others do it well and instigate that learning in their own sessions. They seek feedback on their own performance and always seek to get better. While others remain parents and are no more than cheerleaders. This is ok as long as it doesn’t step over the line and their own ego takes over. This is when the problems start and such coaches fully participate in the ‘silly season’ This means we have moved from development to chasing trophies.
As a coach your job is to develop your players to the best of your ability. Success is taking a group of players (no matter the level) and making them better. I am not an admirer of coaches who just win trophies as they have the best players but the true coach is one who firstly works on his own development and then will develop the group he has. Be clear, I am not against winning but the process is way more important than the outcome. If you get it spot on then the outcome will take care of itself.
A proud moment is seeing a player you have coached take on board what you are saying and putting it into practice. It could be something very simple but if you keep building on these simple things then they will accumulate and the player will develop. A couple of players have asked for some one to one work. This is fantastic and you can tell the mentality of a player if he wants help to work on his game. I am delighted to be given the chance to help them. One of these players is about to move onto the next level. By doing this extra work, he has a real chance.
I would sum up ‘silly season’ by a reminder to the three key groups on what is important:
IF YOU WANT TO BE A PLAYER THEN PLAY
IF YOU WANT TO BE A COACH THEN COACH
IF YOU WANT TO BE A PARENT THEN ENCOURAGE THE TWO GROUPS ABOVE TO DO WHAT’S RIGHT