How to spent the limited time with the team well? What do these numbers mean to you? I help clubcoaches to set up their season planning and this used to start with their goals for the season, how he wanted to play and how to develop the team for this and the players individually. But I learned that coaches find it very difficult to make choices in their planning.
Everything is important!
How do we learn?
We learn by trying again and again and by making mistakes and learning from them. It takes time to learn new skills. This also means we cannot run one session on tackling and expect dramatic improvement. We need to choose two or three topics and find related exercises for a period of 6-8 weeks in order to learn. And we need to stick to the plan. It is important to make the best selection of training elements out of all the choices we have.
(Listen to the Learner Lab podcasts to get a better understanding about our learning processes. They are a good mix of theory and practical meaning.)
The band-aid approach
We missed a lot of tackles in last Saturdays game, need to work on that! One session on tackling does not fix this. Then we take out the tackle bags and all the players work hard diving into the bags, we finish with a good feeling. Does it translate to next Saturdays game?
We need to realise that it takes years of continuous practise to become a good tacklers. Stop looking for quick fixes.
By running a closed drill (an exercise with little or no variation) we think we improve, but the skill will not “stick” in the game-situation that easily, really – it is well researched.
This my new approach. When I start now I ask the coach how much hours a week and how much weeks in the year he can work with his team. Most of the time it are these two answers:
- Two times a week, one hour per session for forty weeks
- Or one and half hours per session, two times a week for forty weeks
This means his “budget” for one season is 80 – 120 hours. Then I simply call out this number “168”. Coach looks puzzled and I have them guess what it is. The answers is of course 168 hours in a week.
80 – 120 in a year / 168 in a week
Suddenly we realise that 120 hours in a season is not very much and we need to be very careful in our decisions on how to spent this “budget”
One of the coaches of the RWC2016 said he was happy to have the team for seven weeks!
How to decide?
We need to realise there are phases in development, we need to develop step by step. It is a development process. The LTAD model will guide us.
- Be clear on what you want to achieve for the next period (SMART goals and all that)
- Plan accordingly
- Stick with it, resist temptation to deviate – only tweak
- Evaluate, for example ask parents, involve them in the learning process
SuperCoach Online and The Budget
Of course this tool is purposely built to “translate” LTAD in ready made programs for trainers. We added a nice feature to the tool. Now you can ask the software to report back to you how much time was spent on the various topics. Or, once you planned for the period, fact check and report of that period beforehand. Great for planning and for evaluating.