Now or then

We are currently experiencing an attendance boom at both badminton and cricket sessions with which I am involved.  With a bit of foresight I have managed to get to a situation where I have some L1 coaches, parents and experienced players in place who are willing and able to help out.  By coincidence this has all been happening in a period during which I’ve been involved with reviewing Coach Education programmes.  Part of this has involved some talk of mentoring and the important part it plays in helping develop new and less experienced coaches.  All this talk about it has helped me reflect on how I go about doing it.

I feel that the best way to develop new coaches has to be through putting them in testing situations where they occasionally fail.  It makes sense – we frequently try to test our players by setting targets or goals just out of their reach because appropriate challenge both motivates, and accelerates learning.  Challenging players in this way is great; they make a mistake and we help them learn from it.  With coaches it’s a bit harder.  Of course they make mistakes and we help them learn from it in the same way; however these mistakes have an impact upon the players with whom they are working.

I’m trying very hard at the moment to allow coaches to develop their own methods and find their own strategies.  It is a challenge for me to not step in with an answer, but to pose questions.  Possibly this is a bit of “coaching arrogance” on my part to suggest I know the best way!  Also though, learning takes time and I have to strike the balance between accelerating the learning for the coaches whilst not stalling the learning for the players whilst this process is happening.  I guess the next step is to have a mentor mentor mentoring me whilst I mentor the coaching team as they coach the players!

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