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What problems do you create within your session design that helps players become self organisers? | Welcome and General

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Posted in: Coaching Top Tips

What problems do you create within your session design that helps players become self organisers?

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  • robertkmaaye

    Saw this great tweet from Great Britain Hockey and thought I'd ask everyone to see what they do! This is with a view to using the thread in promo emails we have going out over the next few months.

    So...what problems do you create within your session design that helps players become self organisers?

    Look forward to finding out what problems you create!

  • Love this!! Encouraging players / athletes, particularly the younger ones to start thinking for themselves, problem solving and building those skills to enhancing their participation experiences and also for later life.

    As I'm not in a team setting, there aren't drills so to speak but for skating I simulate a competition with a timed warm up but then also various waiting times between that and a programme run through (skaters are drawn in 6's ... so can be first after warm up or 10+ minutes later).

    I might do a run through with a shorter warm up in case they are ever late ... or with a rest period if they are first to skate. 

    I direct their practice but sometimes when they ask a question about an element or skill that I think they can figure out, I tell them to do just that - because I want them to be more self sufficient and understand why / how we do things on the ice and enjoy the learning process that comes with it. 

    They also have early morning lesson times, jumping competitions to put elements out of the programme context ... and off the ice, I ask them to make sure they can all get themselves ready and tie their own skates - that way I know they can organise themselves in case a parent / coach was running late!

  • Brucer

    I am a level 2 RFU coach who works with a great team of U10's. Problems I introduce are many but as an example include things such as; changing dimensions of pitch, changing direction of play from across the short side to the long side of the pitch, changing the ball we play with, overloading attack/defence, letting them design the rules of the game, letting them choose the game and pointing out which bits of that game may be better (more enjoyable) than others, scoring different points for what I want them to investigate/emphasise on that day i.e. if I want them to work on support play I will give 5 points for good support and 1 point for an unsupported try etc.

    The main thing is to let the players show you what they need to develop, and, while you may not get it in the current session, they will show you how, with a bit of thought, you may be able to build it into the next session.

    In a fast-moving session, where many needs may come to the fore, an intuitive grasp of the one with the most reward will help, do not try to fix everything break it into bits and concentrate on one bit at a time, but do not labour it. For example, if bad passing comes the fore, get them to do something fast and fun that is designed to improve simple passing skills and then introduce complexity. At both stages make it quick, entertaining, even a bit silly and keep every player involved - challenge, breathlessness, laughter and inclusion will deliver great rewards.

    It may be really hard to do initially but you should just trust your players, they will make you a great coach if you can; respond to, recognise, see, listen to and enjoy your players and then change your coaching according to the needs they have shown you.

    You will find in other posts of mine I advocate (and am a dedicated evangelist for) taking your direction from, learning from and serving the team you lead. It is not rocket science and applies to many activities I have been engaged in

  • GeoffWood

    We have a standard pre-competition warm up which all the swimmers undertake during competition so that they know what to do without having to ask. Simple, except that with often a 100 other swimmers in a comp pool warm up at once they do their own thing and get in the way, stop others swimming etc etc.

    So, to 'replicate' this in practice I will occasionally instruct a few swimmers to 'mess up' the warm up for others in the practice. The responses from those (especially if they have not experienced it before) is interesting and shows which ones can cope at the moment with distractions and things not going 'according to plan'!

  • Turns72

    What a great question and good to read some of the responses.  I coach Ladies football and Surf Lifesaving (bit of a random mix) and I offer individual or team challenges which takes focus away from a specific technique but helps to develop other key areas.  for the footballers the challenge cards may have anything from "shoot" to "pass forward".  the player has to figure out how they are going to go about meeting this challenge every time they receive the ball.  It has worked really well especially when simple questions such as "did you do it?"  why not?, what could you do differently? are used.  for surf life saving, challenges such as losing sight of a casualty, falling off the rescue board etc have been used.  these have been good to develop coping strategies for when things don't go to plan.

    Hope this is related and useful. 

  • CoachMarriott

    Talking here from a team sport (invasion game) viewpoint, this question underpins the need for training to contain as many elements of the game as possible; pressure (time/space/scoreboard/fatigue etc.) consequence, etc. Also important that the picture in front of players constantly changes creating multiple "decision points.". After all players learn to make decisions by making decisions!

    Changes that should be built into the content requiring decisions include e.g, transitions in possession, changes in space available, changes in number of players (us and/or the opposition).

    But of course there is more to this than merely session design, important though this is. It is, in my opinion, more important that we get the "How" as well as the "What" right.

    We coaches need to engineer space in our sessions for players to individually and collectively recognise the problem in front of them and to work together to discover/implement solutions to the problem.

    I like something that I read that aligns our role with one of the gardener, whose role is to create the right conditions for their seeds to germinate and grow. We just need to identify how we change the growing conditions!

    We may need to support (scaffold) the early stages of learning, manage frustration, and resist the temptation to step in to provide solutions. After all it is not just developing a solution to that one problem that we are trying to reach, we are trying to develop wider skills in our players that will enable them to be self-reliant and self-organising, and  better able to discover solutions for any known or unknown problems that might present themselves in the future. Just like technical skills, we only develop and improve these skills by practising them.

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