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I recently joined a new team where I am coaching alongside two other experienced coaches, which is great for the players, but we also need to be careful that we do not overload them with information.

Game Day:

It was my first fixture with the team, as coaches we all positioned ourselves in the dugout, we all knew the aims and process points which were explained to the girls in the recent training sessions and pre match team talk.

About 20 minutes into the game, it dawned on me that although we had a clear strategy and knew how we wanted to play, we did not have specific roles as coaches

Although this is not necessarily a big issue, I do believe that having specific roles helps us to be effective as we as coaches know where to focus on in the game and it provides us a sense of direction as to what to do to ensure our time is being utilised.

In turn, it ensures the strategy is being assessed sufficiently and that we are all giving feedback on different areas and not duplicating information.

Having specific roles also aids us in making informed decisions, particularly when emotions are high.

As discussed in my previous blogs (Five top tips for engaging female players and The important of why when coaching female players) we know female players will have lots of questions and this will help to answer them and provide them direction to which a coach can answer those questions. 

We got through the game and won 1-0, however as a coaching team we started to discuss how we could work differently and more effectively going into the next game. Some of the discussions and roles included:

Observing the opposition:

For the first 20 minutes of each game my role would be to focus on the opposition, considering how they have set up, what opportunities this provides us with and what threats this could mean for us.

Observing us:

The other first team coach would be focusing on us, asking himself ‘are we doing what we set out to do?’ ‘Is there’s anything needs changing?’

Key Messages:

  • We can then feed these messages to the manager, being clear and concise in our communication and he can feed back information to the team and individuals. This allows there to be one main voice onto the pitch and will ensure that messages remain consistent and clear.  
  • Having these roles help us deal with game problems more strategically rather than acting upon emotions.
  • It also allows half-time team talks to be clear and to the point.
  • As a coaching team we will allow the players to have 5 minutes to themselves in the changing room, during this time we will discuss what key points we are going to share with the players, linked to the points above and our overall game plan.
  • We also know how much female players value feedback, and by having individual roles as coaches we can give them detailed 1:1 support, whether that be in response to questions or linked to their matchday role.

So, as a coach consider what role you have on a match day, do you need to think differently to have more of an effect on the players?

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Written By

Abbie Sadler

Women’s High Performance Football Centre Coach Development Officer at the FA and BCWFC WSLA Academy Coach at Bristol City.

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