Have you noticed how often players link on-field problems with a lack of communication. You know the scenario. You pull in the players and ask ‘what could we improve?’ And they go straight to the old classic answer… ‘We need more comms Bro.’ Argghhhhh!
Now the problem is rarely down to a lack of talking. This 'no comms' diagnosis has been a cop out for players and coaches for far too long. It’s time to stop using ‘comms’ as the solution to all problems. We need to look deeper, we need to look at what is happening and help the players diagnose the root cause of problems.
Firstly, in a practice context, you’ll have a clear purpose for certain activities and games that you are using. Focus players back to the purpose. What are we trying to achieve here?
Secondly, have a clear picture of what success could look like. What is critical to see happening (note - not hear happening) to make it successful. Focus your observation on the critical, important, high impact stuff.
Thirdly, if for some reason communication is the critical issue, how are we actually coaching communication? Just asking them to talk more doesn’t work. They might not know what to say, when to say it or even have the confidence to say anything at all. And if they’re doing drills (oops, 5 press-ups for saying ‘drill’) that don't require any decision-making or interaction with teammates, there is very little reason to communicate anyway. Is the training environment and team culture encouraging communication?
So from here forth, we are putting a ban on ‘more talk bro’ as the answer to all problems. Let’s stretch ourselves to look deeper. (And if you really want players to talk to each other, perhaps have a team bbq? This is far more likely to improve ‘comms.’)
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