Arrival in Florida
I knew it was going to be an amazing week when I walked in the hotel door today because NSCAA Director of Coaching Education and Development, Jeff Tipping, and NSCAA Vice President of Education, Paul Payne, were sitting in the lobby and of course welcomed me with open arms.
I said my “hello’s,” got in a workout in the sauna that the Holiday Inn calls a “fitness room” and invested 20 minutes in a good stretch. I thought that would be the best course of action given the long overnight flight I just took, and with five full days of soccer on the horizon I wanted to be sure I was limbered up.
I decided to bounce down to the lobby for some Convention planning. I’m giving a presentation on Thursday with Ryan Knapp next week called, “Social Media for Coaches.” With the purchase of my new iPad, I recently discovered Keynote – the Apple version of Power Point – and must say, it’s a.m.a.z.i.n.g. Seriously, if you’re on a Mac, it’s worth the 30-day free trial at the very least.
Along came Peter Gooding and Paul Payne for some lively chit chat. We talked about the upcoming course, various friends we have in common, and of course I helped set them up with their mobile devices on wireless. They don’t call me “A.V.” for nothing.
The Group Meeting
This evening, we had a huge group meeting with all the candidates from the National, Advanced National, Premier, and Goalkeeper Academy courses. There must have been 300 people in the room! Tipp gave an entertaining presentation, as to be expected, with a solid Power Point that included video clips from Pia Sundhage, Travey Leone, Bob Bradley, Landon Donovan and Tim Howard.
Break Out Session
We broke out into our individual course groups and Paul Marco, the Head Men’s Coach at Binghamton University – a particularly fabulous coach I’ve known for many years – gave us the ABC’s of the Premier Diploma. He was entertaining and definitely gave us a good feel for the week to come.
We played two getting-to-know-you games that I thought were fun. First, we partnered up with somebody and had to find 2 things we had in common in 45 seconds. Next, we got into groups of 4 (different people of course) and find 4 things we had in common in the same time. Finally, we got back with original partner and had to talk for 45 seconds each about our favorite system of play.
As we went around the room and shared people’s answers, it became apparent that there were two points of view about how we see the game – when we have the ball, and when we don’t have the ball – and of course we have different tactical needs in each situation. We then talked about the four moments in a game:
- When we have the ball
- When we lose the ball
- When we don’t have the ball
- When we win the ball
But the key learning here wasn’t necessarily moments of the game, or systems of play, but moreover be open about learning other’s viewpoints and sharing your opinions as well. We’ll all become better coaches this week if we keep this in mind.
Methods of Coaching
We discussed four methods of coaching this evening, including Coaching in (from) the Game, Shadow Training, Phase of Play and Functional Training. We touched briefly on what each of those means and how we should consider them in our sessions.
The key take away here was Paul’s suggestion that, “You should be able to give you session outline, give it to a friend, and have them run it. That’s the test.”
Top 5 Things Not to Do
The gems of the night came in less of a structured format, however, and were actually woven throughout the introduction session. I took scrupulous notes, titling this section in my notepad, “What not to do to pass this course.”
- 1. Train players as forwards in your shadow play, and them move them to center backs in your functional training.
2. Make illegible diagrams or forget to include keys in your session outline.
3. Create unrealistic starting positions that remain static.
4. Organize training sessions that have no relation to the game.
5. Think you know everything.
Goalkeeper Academy Coach and Boston Breakers Assistant Coach Lisa Cole popped by my hotel room tonight, and I persuaded her to do an impromptu interview. It was not planned, and well, it shows. But regardless it was fun, and big thanks to Lisa for being my guinea pig. I’ll keep up with these throughout the week so maybe we’ll get a gem or two.