What Makes a great coach
Definition of a Coach
The generic definition for a football coach is “someone who trains someone in a specific sport, in order to help them improve.”
Our definition of a coach is “someone who positively impacts an individual, whilst teaching and guiding them in pursuit of their goals within a specific sport.”
This is where the first part of what makes a great coach is seen, it is someone who can leave a lasting, positive impact on the individual, after they have been in their presence.
There are many characteristics in which we think make a great coach, however we are going to give you the four main ones which we think will help you to become a great coach.
Understanding your player/players
This is crucial to becoming a great coach, because if you do not understand your players then you will never get them to work in the most efficient way for them to achieve their results. As coaches, we need to understand what makes a player work. What kind of style do they respond to? What can we do to push them further? What are the capable of doing? What do they enjoy doing the most?
All these questions we must be constantly asking to make sure as coaches we are delivering the best package possible to our players. A great coach will take the time out to learn these things, whether this be having a conversation with the parents or the player, or by trial and error and seeing what works. It is crucial to understand the player to maximise the value they gain from each of your sessions.
By understanding your player you will pick up on things such as when players are feeling down, or when they are lacking motivation. This then excels your training because you can adjust your training accordingly, helping every session be the best it can be.
The saying goes, “no plan survives first contact!” We completely agree with this because we see it on a daily basis. Personally I cannot remember the last time I delivered a session which went exactly as I had written down on my plan.
This is because once you get into the session you see things, you see how the player is responding, you see new ideas which could enhance the drill and so much more. The biggest one which causes you to have to change your plan is watching how the player responds, sometimes we have set our expectations too high so have to reduce it down to allow success, other times the player is coasting and we need to challenge them more, pushing them to learn and develop.
Further to this, sometimes we will have planned a session around a certain topic and then get into the session and see something completely different which needs working on. For example, just last night I had a session planned on receiving on the back foot, however saw the player was struggling on striking the ball correctly so completely changed up the session. This is where great coaches always have a back up, and use their previous experience to adjust things accordingly.
Building a Rapport
One of, if not the most important characteristic for a great coach to have is the ability to build a great rapport with their players. How often do you remember the coaches you didn’t get on with, you don’t. You remember the ones that made you feel great and instilled a confidence in you, believing in you to succeed.
From day 1 of setting up JCR, this was always something at the forefront of our coaching and reason why I believe we have been very successful to this point. There is a saying which is always at the forefront of my mind “putting smiles on faces.” I believe by following this, you can get so much success with players because they become on your side, resulting in them in believing your style and ways of teaching them, your job becomes easier.
Any new coaches who come to JCR, the first thing I say to them is I want them to have fun whilst delivering the session and as long as the players go home with a smile on their face, having learnt at least something then this is job done.
This is something so simple but yet done so little, all it needs is a few questions, asking how the players day was, what have they enjoyed, finding out about them. If you can do this, you are going to go a long way with your players and as a coach.
Reflection and Accountability
Once you deliver a session to a player/players do you expect them to go away and forget everything they did, or do you ask them what they did good and how could they improve? Well this is exactly the same for all coaches, you should be going away following a session and reflecting on it. Identify the areas in which you excelled, identify the areas in which development could be made and then try this next time. This is how coaches grow, if you don’t do this you become stuck and stagnant in your coaching; become creativity off the back of reflection.
It doesn’t even have to be personal reflection, it could be reflecting on others sessions. We are lucky to work alongside each other daily, and we are constantly “stealing” ideas of each other. When in fact we are not stealing we are adapting and this is what makes a great coach. Seeing something someone else has done, reflecting on it and going actually if I did this, this would happen and this outcome would be achieved.
Part of this reflection is also being accountable. By this we mean you take full responsibility for the session. If it goes great then excellent, but if it doesn’t quite go the way you wanted then stand up and go, okay it didn’t work because of X this time, however if I change Y next time it should achieve what I aimed for.
Our JCR Coaches
When hiring any new individuals into our company we look at the way they work with the player. Do they build a good relationship? Are they understanding? Looking at these aspects becomes our number one priority. This is because for us, we recognise the importance of our clients having the best time possible when they attend our sessions and this comes from whether or not they get on with the coach.
We also look at this, because actual coaching techniques can be taught, however the ability to build good relationships is a lot harder to teach because that comes down to the person. Most coaches can be good coaches, however we look for great coaches who will “leave a lasting positive impact” on the individual to join us at JCR!
Want to Join The Squad?
If you would like to join the JCR Sports Coaching squad, we’re waiting for you! To get in touch with us regarding your coaching requirements, please do not hesitate to use any of the methods provided through the website to reach out.