Soccer Cards

Soccer Cards?

Why I thought it was a good idea to make ‘soccer cards’ of my team

As coaches we need all the help we can get to deliver the best program for the development of our team. To do so, invite other coaches and senior players to come and deliver specific programs.

What to organise?

To make these guest appearances a success, we need to have a good understanding on how to develop the team and have organised a basic training schedule to accommodate this.

Next you can think of the help you want to enlist and you can be a bit more specific when you ask others for a guest appearance:

  • You can pop-up some dates you want them to come down;
  • Can highlight the areas of development you want them to work on, you can brief them before the training sessions;
  • Evaluate afterwards;

How to evaluate?

Working with a team for a longer period it is very difficult not to become biased in our opinions on the players. So, getting the feedback of those guest coaches is a great opportunity to learn more about your players AND how you rate them (everybody is learning, right?).

How to maximise this opportunity?

Bring in the ‘soccer cards’

I realised pretty quickly that it was difficult for them to be specific when describing the players. Sometimes it would be something like “that prop in the Harlequins jersey” kind of description. I decided to do better: create my own soccer cards. This turned out no so difficult actually:

  1. Take individual photos of the players;
  2. Import them in iPhoto;
  3. Replace that automatic generated “IMG_3456” type name with the player’s name;
  4. Use the “contact sheet” option to print them out;
  5. Cut them to size;
  6. Store them in a little container;

Perhaps it is best when you ask a Mum or Dad to do this for you!

Now after a training session I could get the cards out and for example ask Job Volker what his best front five option was. He and other coaches I invited loved it!

Next steps

I could also use the soccer cards in other discussions too. Like making the starting 15 with Mats and Erik for example and visualising different possibilities and discussing substitutions.

Also we used them in our dialog with the players, for example we asked our Full-Back “in defense, what mid-field players would you like to see in front of you” and let him actually place their cards in front of his own card. Of course we could then show the card of another Center and ask hime “but what about this one?”

By looking at cards on a table we felt the discussion was far more neutral and less opinionated.

We would also browse through the cards and see if the players did something noticable during the training. No? Why? Did we not see it?

This is what Performance Profiling for Rugby is all about. Put it on the table – literally!

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