Click the cross to close this cookie notice. X
Add a hyperlink to the space navigation. You can link to internal or external web pages. Enter the Tab name and Tab URL. Upload or choose an icon. Then click Save.
In my short time in football coaching I have played around with many interventions to accelerate the learning of players within my sessions. One area that fascinates me is the constraints led approach. Now at some point, we all use constraints; whether it be conditions, rules, questioning linked to the TGFU model. But I'd like to discuss do we actually know the impact of our constraints?
"Constraints Led Coaching is a style of coaching where the coach takes a particular technique, skill or tactic from the ‘whole’ game, isolates it in a Small Sided Game and lets the players find the answers to solve the problem".
This above statement really underpins the definition of constraints. For example, when you watch a game, do you notice what players are doing, feeling or thinking? Extracting and isolating an element in a small sided game can be one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences for players. If you watch the how Barcelona play, do you notice how many times the centre backs and holding midfielder either run with the ball or play off one touch to play out? Noticing this and implementing it within a small sided game would look like this:
Challenge: You must either run with the ball or play off one touch to break the halfway line
This will automatically challenge players thinking, allowing them to come up with the solutions to the problem with some detailed questioning through the TGFU model. Allowing the players to experience and feel the practice is key, and our role as coaches is to intently observe players behaviours and emotional responses.
Barcelona 1 touch passing
“It’s the design of games using different scoring systems that require the players to use particular techniques or strategies to win the game. Simply tell the players the scoring system and then just let them play. Allow them time to determine the most appropriate strategy/response rather than explicitly telling them the solution”.
Another way to implement constraints is the use of rules. Recently, I wanted players to keep the ball in play for as long as possible. How do I do this? Think of a consequence that allows players to learn from their actions and behaviours. I implemented a sin - bin rule (similar to Rugby, Ice Hockey) where players had to stand on a line for 10 seconds if they kicked the ball out of play. Suddenly this changed the whole landscape of the game, as players were playing at a really high intensity and doing everything they possibly could to stay on the ball.
Know your players, the task and the environment
It's important to know your players. What makes them tick? What are they motivated by, and how are you going to do it? Some players thrive of limiting the task, for example restricting them to a one touch finish to work on their body position, and their efficiency receiving the ball. But does it work for all? We have to create an environment where players are stimulated and have tasks just out of their reach, but also just within their reach. It really is a balancing act! Some challenges may not be suitable for all your players, but knowing their work programmes is key. For example, I worked with an U18 player last year who was one of the most imaginative and creative players I've ever coached. And he was a right back! So how did I challenge him? He loved doing Rabona chips in practice, I observed this when he did it in pre-training kick abouts. Yet I had never seen him apply it in practice.
Challenge: Can you get as many assists as possible with a Rabona?
His eyes lit up when he heard this. Now it may not seem possible to do Rabona's all the time, that's where his decision making comes in. How do I do it? Whens the right time? What do I do if a defender closes me down quickly? Why would this be useful in a game?
Restricting players environment automatically promotes creativity.
What we sometimes think will work for players, won't always pan out how you wanted them to...
We need to know why we're doing what we're doing. Often I hear coaches say "Right, two - touch from now on". Why? Probably because it seems like they're coaching, but what are the reasons behind it? If you want to encourage players to quickly support the player with the ball, then one or two touch is a clever way to promote this. But always know why you're doing what you're doing. Will it benefit the players, challenge them tactically, technically or psychologically and have relevance to them and the game?
Further use of constraints:
Understanding the needs and demands of your players is absolutely key. Sometimes if we don't challenge our players, we may never discover their true potential, and just how spectacular they can be.
My final thoughts are does the CLA link with TGFU?
Thanks for reading. This is just from my experience in football, so I welcome any thoughts and comments from your experiences :-)
Lots of great ideas here. Thanks all
Enjoyed the article and the comments around the theory and practical applications and examples. I have found this approach easier to deliver in team sports such as hockey and rugby than sports such as tennis, golf and especially cricket. Part of this might be because I was coached (taught probably a better word) in such a technical and autocratic way in my youth and my mind hasn't adapted to the principles of constraints in these more individual sports. As Matthew comments, Renshaw is a good read and Mark Upton someone to follow on twitter. Anyone here have any tips on adapting constraints approach to the more individual games such as cricket and golf or even swimming? Thanks.
Hi Simon, Mark Upton is really good and I'd like to look into Renshaw. Ben Bartlett is good on twitter too as is reading about Dan Micciche. Single act technique sports like you've mentioned are more difficult to apply to C-L-A however consider the outcomes you want to achieve by observing the player and the sport. For example, as a cricketer I struggled to move my feet at all when in bat. A constraint might be I have to move my feet before scoring shots, or there could be a consequence for not doing so. Be careful with technique based sports though as many athletes have preferred styles of technique and they will need lots of relate type constraints and rewards for doing things well.
hi Simon, Richard - I have been thinking about CLA and cricket - simple constraints might include using the narrow "technique" bat (you very quickly develop a technique that relies on using the middle of the bat...because that is all you have!), or bowling at a single stump. Some of the coaching interventions described by Steffan Jones to develop bowling actions look as if they might also qualify as CLA - physical constraints on movement, whether it be through the use of resistance bands or weighted balls.
Hey guys, the majority of my coaching work is based in cricket and I've found similar issues with implementing CLA in practice situations. My main issue is that within a net (which - unfortunate as it sometimes is - is the only realistic option to get us even remotely close to gameplay) there are very few match-related constraints that can be effectively implemented. We can set an imaginary field (environmental constraint) and set an imaginary game situation (task constraint) but at the end of the day the effectiveness of this enforced context is entirely dependent on how much the player decides to immerse themselves in it. On top of this, even where players have the best intentions in the world this is just too much information to stay constantly aware of and inevitably their focus starts to slip. When it comes to individual technical work it's a bit more straightforward, but trying to keep technical and tactical components of practice as intertwined as they should be is a big challenge.
The adoption of a CLA is gaining momentum, but I fear that we still have a way to go in helping coaches to understand how to best utilise it. From my experience as a coach developer,coaches try hard to design content with lots of seemingly good constraints, but often "over constrain" their practices, limiting the options available to performers and introduce unintended consequences. The concept of affordances is an important one and this needs to be more widely discussed. The notion that "you can't adapt to an environment that you don't inhabit" is an important one, and it is up to all coaches when designing their representative practices that they don't restrict (over constrain) performers, but rather manipulate the environment in such a way that it affords players opportunities to choose the right solutions to overcome the particular challenges created by the new environment.Often, the way to do this in team games is to put the constraints on the opposition. In trying to develop quicker passing for example, coaches often introduce a two-touch rule which seems sensible at first glance. However if there is no pressure from defenders, why take away from the ball carrier the decision to carry the ball forward? Instead, why not add constraints or points scoring opportunities to the defenders for applying lots of pressure to the ball or for regaining the ball quickly in an underload (less defenders than attackers). They will then (hopefully) work hard to win the ball, put lots of pressure on ball carriers, and create the possibility for the side in possession to succeed by moving the ball around more quickly without removing any of the choices available to them. Create affordances!!The greater use of CLA is a good thing, but too often a little knowledge can be a bad thing and used poorly constraints can lead to confusing sessions that aren't goal directed and are counterproductive.
Completely agree Chris, managing the opposition is also key. The other day I wanted to bring out turning opportunities in football, so I encouraged the opposition to mark man to man and prevent them from turning. Sometimes if the trade off is too high or in essence the game realism is out weighed by what you are trying to get out, it's time to consider changing the constraint.
OK, so I'm new to this but I like the idea. Let's see if I understand. My team shoots trap, a shotgun sport like Olympic Trap. The target emerges from a trap house going away from the shooter at 42 mph and in a random direction. With new shooters, I turn off the oscillator and throw straight targets so they only have to learn to hit a rising target going away from them. CLA might have 3 different games in sequence: (1) hit 4 out of 5 straightaways, and qualify to move on to (2) at a fixed angle break 4 out of 5, (3) turn oscillator on and shoot random targets. That makes sense to me. Does it make sense to you?
UK Coaching is the brand name of registered UK Charity The National Coaching Foundation.
© Copyright The National Coaching Foundation, 2015, All rights reserved.
Registration Number 2092919 Charity Registration Number 327354
Registered Offices at: Chelsea Close, Off Amberley Road, Armley, Leeds, LS12 4HP
Homepage images ) Alan Edwards and Coachwise/SWpix?