Do you find yourself just watching the ball? It’s an easy trap to fall into, but there is so much else going on in practices and/or matches that we could observe. And isn’t it interesting that two different people can watch the same performance and have totally different perspectives? One person sees one thing and the other person something else.
Observation skills can be a real challenge and is often underrated and not often discussed or considered by coaches, but is essentially at the heart of what we do. We watch our players practice / perform and then attempt to provide feedback and / or set up practice environments to help them improve.
As the old saying goes, ‘if everything is important, then nothing is important.” There is so much we could watch and it is virtually impossible to see everything. So have a think about what to focus your attention on in order to help your players develop as best as they can. Here are a few considerations:
Focus on Key Objectives: When you set up a game or activity, focus your observation on the critical skills / key outcomes you are hoping the players will achieve. Your feedback process should be narrowed to the key objectives.
Where to Stand: Consider where to position yourself so you are in the best place is to see what you need to see. It could be side-on, end-on, or a mixture. Try not to be in the game or activity (playing / joining in), as you won’t see much there.
Working as a Coaching Team. If you are fortunate to have coaching colleagues, consider what each of you is observing. It is probably best to look for different things or we may all end up following the ball. Someone might watch the ball, where someone else might watch the off-ball play.
Match Day Observation. It is all too easy to watch the match like a spectator or fan. Spectators will generally follow the ball and just watch the game unfold. Our job as a coach is to focus our attention on critical areas that might have an impact. Do you watch your own team or opposition? You decide.
So… What you lookin at?
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