By Gemma Bell
Well it's certainly my life! Take the last two months of my life... football madness! Trips to Sincil Bank, my under 10's in several games, home and away, then a 'quick' trip to the Banks Stadium for a Women's World Cup qualifier. Most recently I went to a mid-week friendly to watch none other than Lee Beevers back in action for Gainsborough Trinity on a cold Tuesday night at The Sun Hat Villas Stadium, and that's just games!
Step away from games and I still have one night a week as a minimum for session planning and then another night training with my grassroots team. More recently I have started to coach at an advanced player development centre for boys and now I have been tasked with setting up a girls centre and much more. So here I am now, I find myself both back in the classroom and back on a pitch. As I start to undertake the next level of my coaching journey, it's posed the question;
Why do we coach the way we coach?
As with everything it's a philosophy ingrained in us from the start. What I'm learning about myself on this course is that I already had a coaching philosophy before I stepped out into my first session as coaching lead. It's an extension of my beliefs in all aspects of life, mistakes will be made, I’m confident of that but be confident, that is one of the best ways to learn. By discovering your own path to a positive outcome you become independent and that is what I wish for my players.
So why am I telling you this? Well, have you ever looked at the grassroots game and thought; 'Why is the coach playing player x there, they can't play there?'
Yep! Me too, but now I know why. If I played all my players in positions that only work with their strengths am I really encouraging their development?, or is it perhaps the case that am I stopping their development in their weaker areas? I question myself, am I creating an environment that allows players to try, fail and try again with confidence? You see that's what I want, I don't want to spoon feed them instructions so they just rely on my commands, that style is very much “old school coaching” and has limited creativity and has ultimately resulted in a lack of flair in the English game.
So, how do we bring it back and just how can parents at grassroots help?
I encourage you to ask your child's coach more questions about why they do what they do and receive that information with an open mind. Remember they are working with the FA on new approaches to coaching and your understanding of that is invaluable. Command style alone is limiting style and finesse that we need so urgently back in the English game.
I say let's grab the opportunity for change and grow greatness from grassroots. Football is life!