• Share
  • Email
  • Embed
  • Like
  • Save
  • Private Content
Coaching Edge Magazine Issue 20

Coaching Edge Magazine Issue 20



For today's coaches, Coaching Edge is a convenient and time-saving form of CPD that you can access when it suits you. As the official magazine of sports coach UK it's perfect for picking up new ideas ...

For today's coaches, Coaching Edge is a convenient and time-saving form of CPD that you can access when it suits you. As the official magazine of sports coach UK it's perfect for picking up new ideas to improve your coaching, as you get the chance to learn from other coaches.



Total Views
Views on SlideShare
Embed Views



0 Embeds 0

No embeds


Upload Details

Uploaded via as Adobe PDF

Usage Rights

© All Rights Reserved

Report content

Flagged as inappropriate Flag as inappropriate
Flag as inappropriate

Select your reason for flagging this presentation as inappropriate.

  • Full Name Full Name Comment goes here.
    Are you sure you want to
    Your message goes here
Post Comment
Edit your comment

    Coaching Edge Magazine Issue 20 Coaching Edge Magazine Issue 20 Document Transcript

    • SUMMER 2010 ISSUE 20 WWW.SPORTSCOACHUK.ORG EDGE COACHING UNG ’s I KLEADHING AC ECO GAZIN MA ADAPT AND THRIVE How cricket coaches have embraced lessons of Twenty20INSIDE: Football’s Masters • Making Mentors Work • Surviving the Credit Crunch
    • 2 COACHING EDGE |CONTENTS|CONTENTS04 Learning from the Masters – Peter Shilton and Nobby Stiles 11 On the Way to Wembley Mark Pointer 28 In The Running for 2011 Sam Hawcroft Martin Betts and Craig Smith Pooling Experience 1408 Do Captains Set the Course? John Goodbody Howard Foster One Moment In Time – 18 © sports coach UK Norman’s Wisdom Sam Hawcroft 21 20:20 Vision © Darren Walsh/Action Images Limited Richard Gibson 31 Credit Where it’s Due Lynn Allen 24 Let the (Friendly) Games Begin... John Goodbody Power and Influence 32 David Bloomfield Take a Bow 35 Jeff Thornton Getting the Most from 26 Your Talent Jeff Thornton © Getty ImagesPublished July 2010 by Patron prufus@coachwise.ltd.uk or in sport, as elsewhere, that Coaching Edge is sent quarterly to allsports coach UK HRH The Princess Royal on 0113-201 5457. both genders have equal status sports coach UK members. It is alsoPost: 114 Cardigan Road Chair The opinions expressed in these and opportunities. available to non-members.Headingley Chris Baillieu articles are those of the authors. They The term parent includes carers, For subscription informationLeeds LS6 3BJ Editor do not necessarily reflect the views of guardians and other next of or to purchase back copies of CoachingUnited Kingdom Tim Hartley sports coach UK, its management kin categories. Edge or FHS, call 0113-290 7612.Phone: + 44 (0) 113-274 4802 Chief Sub Editor or staff. sports coach UK will ensure that Cover PhotographFax: + 44 (0) 113-275 5019 Craig Smith Throughout these articles, the it has professional and ethical values and © Action Images Limited/ReutersEmail: Design pronouns he, she, him, her and that all its practices are inclusive Inner photographscoaching@sportscoachuk.org The Coachwise Design Team so on are interchangeable and and equitable. © Action Images Limited/ReutersWebsite: Enquiries for advertising sales intended to be inclusive of both © The National Coaching unless otherwise stated.www.sportscoachuk.org and bulk subscriptions to Paul Rufus at males and females. It is important Foundation, 2010 Designed and produced by Coachwise Ltd 90618:5
    • |EDITORIAL| COACHING EDGE 3EDITORIAL sports coach UKWelcome to the latest issue of Coaching Edge.For issue 20 we’ve given Coaching Edge a fresh new look and hope you find something which, in the NEWSbest traditions of journalism, will inform, educate and even entertain.Most importantly, it’s designed for you, the coaches. BURSARY SCHEMEWe know that the very best coaches never stop learning, thinking, talking and – perhaps mostimportantly – listening, and within each of the features in this magazine there’s something you maypick up from seeing how others approach their sport and use as a tip for your own work, somethingwhich could be adapted to make your own athlete or team stronger, and you even better.As coaches, there may be ideas and examples you want to add to any of the features in this issue,and we’d be delighted to hear from you (our email address is below).In this issue you’ll see how a new approach helped one small football team come oh-so-close to theirdream, how coaches will use the Commonwealth Games to prepare for The London 2012 Olympicand Paralympic Games, how cricket is evolving thanks to the Twenty20 format, and so much more. Sports coaches are in demand, especially inAs a young hockey goalkeeper, I was glued to the TV every time Norman Hughes’ Great Britain the capital. SkillsActive’s London Coachingside, which claimed bronze in 1984, took to the field – a team which laid the foundations for the Bursary Scheme pays two thirds of the cost of asides of 1986 at Willesden and 1988 in Seoul...and to see Norman urging coaches to get involved coaching qualification course for people newat grass-roots level is inspirational all over again. to coaching, or coaches who want to becomeWe’ll be building on the great job done by previous editor Anne Pankhurst and wish her the best in qualified. More opportunities are likely to beher coaching career and academic work. offered as the Mayor of London announces further initiatives to boost training andSummer’s here, for some it’s the key time of their season, for others it’s the moment for pre-season qualifications in coaching and officiating,training and all those hard miles to begin... backed by the Olympic Legacy Fund. VisitWe hope you enjoy reading it as much as the team here have enjoyed putting it together...see you in www.skillsactive.com for more information.three months! UK ANTI-DOPINGTim Hartley, editor, Coaching Edge UK Anti-Doping, the national bodyeditor@coachwise.ltd.uk responsible for the implementation and management of the UK’s anti-doping policy, has launched a confidential Report Doping YOUTUBE CHANNEL in Sport hotline, and is keen for anyone within the sporting community to help ensure all sport is clean. The line provides a platform for anyone to report any information they may have on doping, trafficking or supply of prohibited substances. UK COACHING The line is hosted by Crimestoppers, which has AWARDS 2010 years of experience handling calls of this nature, and all information received is fed into the UK Anti-Doping intelligence team forIt’s time to think about those inspirationalcoaches, and have your chance to say thanks. analysis and investigation. Callers will not need to disclose their personal details if they don’tThis year’s UK Coaching Awards will take sports coach UK has produced a series of want to.place on Tuesday 30 November at The video clips for parents and carers whoBrewery (www.thebrewery.co.uk) in London. are interested in becoming coaches. The number to call is: 0800-032 2332.Hosted by sports coach UK, the Awards The films provide information on how tohonour coaches and coaching organisations become a coach and what steps to take.that have achieved outstanding success overthe previous 12 months. Visit the sports coach UK YouTube ‘channel’Updates on the event, including categories and www.youtube.com/sportscoachuktv and thehow to nominate, will be posted on the sports Coach Zone section of the sports coachcoach UK website. UK website.
    • 4 COACHING EDGE |THE MASTERS|LEARNINGFROM THEMASTERSIt’s often said you can only plan for the future by understanding your history, so anyonewho has the arrogance of youth would do well to listen to two of football’s grand masters– Peter Shilton and Nobby Stiles, men only too aware that coaching analysis andpsychology have long played a part in their beautiful game,as Martin Betts and Craig Smith discovered.
    • |THE MASTERS| COACHING EDGE 5 T hough he currently saves anecdotes for after-dinner speaking rather than 25-yard thunderbolts destined for the top corner of the net, it’s difficult to argue with Peter Shilton’s views on the beautiful game and coaching. Having made more than 1,000 professional appearances and won 125 caps for England during a 30-year career, he plied his trade under legendary managers Sir Alf Ramsey,Shilton on Robson: Brian Clough and Sir Bobby Robson on a professional journey which took him from‘If you’re talking Leicester to Leyton Orient, with nine clubs in-between.about a great While his list of medals and caps may blind tomanager and great the fact that he doesn’t hold any significant coaching qualifications and that his own foraycoach, then into football management with Plymouth Argyle was unspectacular at best, there’s no doubtI probably would have that one of the world’s greatest everto say Bobby Robson, goalkeepers has some useful insights and advice for today’s coach.because that’s what he His career spans four decades, from awas. He loved to get black-and-white era where a cigarette in the dressing room before kick-off wasn’ton the training pitch uncommon, to the dawn of the Premier League and the arrival of the continental manager,and he loved to join in sophisticated training, nutrition advisorsthe coaching.’ and psychologists. When Coaching Edge catches up with him he is sitting in a pokey dressing room in the bowels of the Savile Rooms, an exhibition venue in Leeds. Even aged 60 he is an imposing character and looks the part in an England goalkeeper’s jersey and tracksuit bottoms ahead of a corporate event that will see him face penalties from an array of star-struck businessmen and women. ‘When I first started out on the early part of my England career, people like Sir Alf Ramsey were basically managers,’ explains Shilton. ‘They had coaches – Harold Shepherdson and Les Cocker – but the coaching was a lot simpler, a lot of playing games and letting the lads have a bit of fun at the right time, a bit of shooting practice, a bit of running. ‘But coaches started to think of new ways of doing things and it got more complicated. ‘I think there is a danger of overdoing things: there’s a desire to improve, to coach better, but better doesn’t have to mean more complicated. Implementing more complicated drills where professional players have to really think, day-in © Getty Images day-out, can jade them.
    • 6 COACHING EDGE |THE MASTERS|‘With kids, certain drills can improve their ‘If your body is in the right position, your feetconcentration, improve their technique, get are in the right position and you have yourthem thinking. But with professionals, if you weight in the right position, you can be bettercomplicate coaching too much, they can get balanced and quicker to react.tired mentally because they’re thinking toomuch about training. It can be that, when youcome to a match day, players can be a littlestale rather than being mentally fresh.’ ‘I don’t think a lotIt’s the pervading message from Shilton of coaches knowthroughout the day: keep it simple.However, that’s not to say he doesn’t believe in about theanalysing coaching, nor taking the radical step importance ofof taking a coaching lead from one sport andincorporating it into a session plan for another. getting theHe’s also quick to underline the importance of fundamentals ofan area of coaching sports coach UK hasbeen trying to promote in recent months: the movement right.FUNdamentals of movement. I learnt my‘I think I was probably the first goalkeeper tostart to develop alternative exercises and drills footwork and bodyspecific for my position, like footwork exercises positioning off aand quick-reaction exercises, and practisingpunching and analysing different areas of ballroom dancer.‘goalkeeping in order to improve incertain areas. ‘I don’t think a lot of coaches know about the‘When I started it was “catch the ball at its importance of getting the fundamentals of bodyhighest point” and “get your body as near to, movement right.’or behind, the ball as much as you can”– two Nobby Stiles was partvery basic things. I developed my footwork and Shilton, as his posture and demeanour of the success of ‘66body positioning, which I learnt off a fellow suggests, is a very relaxed man, and hiscalled Len Hepple, an ex-ballroom dancer, favoured coaching style is laid back ratherwho started to teach body positions. than dictatorial. He has no time for the rant-and-rave approach of some managers and coaches, and he cites ‘Uncle Bobby’ Robson as the best manager/coach he worked with. ‘It’s important coaches appreciate that if you make a mistake it’s not always a bad thing as long as something positive is learnt. People don’t make mistakes on purpose; a coach has to man-manage those people and get their thought processes positive again. ‘The worst thing a coach can do when things go wrong is to scream and shout, because you then have even further to go to pick people up for the next challenge.’ But if Shilton’s greatest moments on the pitch were during Italia ‘90, it’s another World Cup which springs to mind when Englishmen say just one word...‘Nobby’. Norbert Peter Stiles, ‘Nobby’ to football fans over the last 50 years, was one of the unsung Nobby Stiles, George Best and © Getty Images heroes of the 1966 win. Bobby Charlton lining up for Manchester United in 1968 Mention his name and images of a toothless wonder dancing on the Wembley turf with the
    • |THE MASTERS| COACHING EDGE 7 Stiles on Ramsey: ‘Tactically, Sir Alf was so far ahead. As a manager, he was tremendous.’ © Getty ImagesJules Rimet Trophy are often conjured up. This position we have a certain Bobby Moore”... THE COACH’S EDGEjig following the 4–2 win over West Germany that was how Alf spoke to you,’ says Stiles. Don’t overdo things: there’s aonly touches upon the success of the diminutive desire to improve, to coachball-winner who plied his trade under the A boyhood Manchester United fan who thinks better, but better doesn’t have perhaps the nearest player to him these days to mean more complicated.stewardship of some great coaches. would be someone like Owen Hargreaves, Develop alternative exercises‘I joined (Manchester) United in 1958,’ Stiles believes communication and listening and drills specific for positions,recounts Stiles, who made his first-team debut to the manager was, and remains, the key such as footwork exercises and to success. quick-reaction exercises. If youragainst Bolton in October 1960, having athlete learns that their body isoriginally being signed as an inside-forward... in the right position, and that ‘I tried to balance their two opinions (those ofthe Frank Lampard of his day! their feet are in the right Busby and Ramsey). Alf cemented a great position and they have their bond within the England team of ‘66, which is weight in the right position,Stiles, who along with Bobby Charlton shares still there today.’ they can be better balancedthe distinction of being the only Englishman to and quicker to react.finish on the winning side in a World Cup Final After earning 28 England caps and following aand European Cup Final, considers himself Coaches must appreciate that spell at Middlesbrough, Stiles moved into if you make a mistake it’s not‘very fortunate’ to have worked under management with Preston North End, whom he always a bad thing as long asfootballing knights Matt Busby and Alf Ramsey, had originally joined as a player-coach. something positive is learnt.whom he calls two great managers, but with For more on thevery different philosophies and personalities. Jobs with Vancouver Whitecaps and then West FUNdamentals of movement, Bromwich Albion followed, and the last visit www.1st4sport.com where‘Alf picked me for the under-23 international v coaching job for the 68-year-old was back at you can purchase AnScotland in 1965. My dad had told me my Old Trafford from 1989–1993 under Alex Introduction to thebest position was playing at the back, so I Ferguson, helping develop a new generation of FUNdamentals of Movementasked Alf to see if I could revert to the back talent which would include David Beckham, resource and DVD.and he said “you may if you wish, but in that Ryan Giggs and Gary Neville.
    • 8 COACHING EDGE |CAPTAINS|DO CAPTAINSSET THECOURSE?How important really is the captain? Are they simply the ones who toss thecoin at the start of a game, or are they the ones who organise the coachingsessions and whose turn it is to provide the bacon butties and ensure the kitis clean? It varies between sports, between levels of those sports, and isoften dictated by a sports club’s finances.But, as John Goodbody points out, at the top level the role hascertainly changed... The role of the rugby captain – such as British and Irish Lions’ leader Paul O’Connell – is very different to that in other sports
    • |CAPTAINS| COACHING EDGE 9T he era of the god-like captain would have coped with a director of cricket. This will follow extensive consultation before Not well I suspect. the game. is over. In team sports, the captain used to be regarded However, I could see Mike Brearley, so acute Lord says: ‘The shift in recent years has been as the fount of most as a captain of England 30 years ago, as the increased amount of performance analysis.knowledge and would plan the being far more amenable. This is trawled through by the captain and manager or coach. Previously, strategies werestrategies and tactics, and often the Still, unlike shorter and more fast-moving games, based on intuition. Now they are based ontraining and preparation for games such the captain in cricket remains responsible for facts. Captains now go out on to the park withas football, netball, rugby union, hockey, decisions on the field, such as the change of very clear plans.’ bowlers and the field placing.cricket and lacrosse. Asked if messages are still sent out, in theHowever, gradually over the decades, with the Gordon Lord, the head of elite coaching traditional manner, through the 12th man withincreasing professionalism of sport, the role of development at the England and Wales Cricket the drinks, he replied: ‘Yes, there are occasionalcoach and manager has become more and Board (ECB), talks of the ‘clarity of role’ of the messages but these might sometimes be in themore significant. captain and the coach. form of a question rather than a statement.’Now the emphasis is on the partnership ofcoach and captain. ‘In 2009, there Michael Fordham, a former lecturer at Loughborough University who has workedThink of Sir Clive Woodward and Martin were seven new extensively on the managing and coaching of cricketers, points to the structure of manyJohnson, architects of England’s 2003 RugbyUnion World Cup-winning team, or Duncan county captains counties who have a director of cricket or cricket manager, the person responsible forFletcher and Michael Vaughan of the victorious2005 Ashes squad. but two had ‘getting the team to win’.What matters is not only the ability of the relinquished their Below him, he has several coaches. At bigplayers, but the way in which they are preparedphysically, technically, psychologically and posts by the end of counties, such as Yorkshire and Lancashire, these may number six-plus others for youngernutritionally for their matches. the season.’ teams, whereas Worcestershire have three full-time coaches plus part-timers.Cricket has remained a sport in which thecaptain has continued to have a major role, He says: ‘The ideal model, to which the vast Fordham, who has beendespite the arrival of, at county, let alone majority of coaches aspire, is for the captain to instrumental in the Level 4 awardsinternational level, the director of cricket or have the information to make all the necessary at the ECB, says that thecricket manager. decisions on the pitch. The job of the coach is relationship between the captain to prepare the captain and the team in such a and the director of cricket is One wonders how celebrated ‘absolutely crucial. They must sing way that the captain is totally in charge on martinet captains of the past, from the same hymn sheet’. the field.’ such as Douglas Jardine of England’s Ashes-winning Bodyline team or Warwick Armstrong of Australia, nicknamed The Big Ship, © Darren Walsh/Action Images Limited England netball captain Sonia Mkoloma fights for the ball against Aussies Sharelle McMahon and Alex Hodge
    • 10 COACHING EDGE |CAPTAINS| England captain Charlotte Edwards lifts the ICC Twenty20 trophy at Lord’sHowever, it is also important that the captain A footballer, hockey or rugby player will always Simon Drane, a performance psychologist atis worth his place in the side. Fordham have a partial view of the game, even if that the English Institute of Sport based at Bishamexplains: ‘If not, he will start getting worried. view may be most illuminating, whereas someone Abbey, believes one of the greatEven the power base of Mike Brearley used watching from the touchline is better able to disadvantages of the player/coach is that ‘heto fluctuate.’ is trying to do two jobs at once, whereas appreciate the ebb and flow of the match. modern sport demands 100% focus’.The other players also like to see their captainin form. It gives them confidence. In rugby union, you now often see the captain ‘In cricket there is an enormous strain on the or player looking to the touchline for advice on captain because an outfielder can switch onMuch of Fordham’s work has been with and off. But a captain has to be switched on alldirectors of cricket and county captains, and he what they should do when, say, a penalty is the time and if he drops a catch or misfields,points to the pressures of the modern game. awarded in the latter stages of a game, the mistakes are so much more explicit than in querying whether they should go for goal, kick many other games, when you may be able to‘In 2009, there were seven new county to touch for a lineout, or take a scrum. In make up for it very quickly. It is simply verycaptains but two had relinquished their posts by demanding to be a captain.’And also very general, therefore, it is better to separate thethe end of the season,’ he says. demanding to be a coach or manager. two jobs of player and manager/coach.Fordham has also worked in football, where theconcept of a player/manager or coach hasdisappeared from the top flight in England, THE COACH’S EDGE How to make the most of the role...although there have been many celebrated The successful partnership of a captain and his manager/coach is a matter ofnames enjoying both roles – such as Terry chemistry. It is like a marriage. They have to have similar ambitions and ‘sing fromVenables, Glenn Hoddle and Ruud Gullit. the same hymn sheet’.Probably the last really outstanding success In cricket, their knowledge has increased greatly in recent years because of thewas Kenny Dalglish, who led Liverpool to the development of performance analysis. Captains now go out on the field having aDouble while having both roles in 1986. much better factual and statistical basis of the strengths and weaknesses of their own players and those of the opposition.Fordham says: ‘The advantage of a Captains in any sport must be worth their place in the team, otherwise theirplayer/manager is that he can lead from the confidence will suffer and the players will no longer believe in them.front. However, nowadays it does put a huge Player/managers are no longer commonplace in top-flight football because theburden on the individual. A good coach uses pressures are too great. Modern sport demands 100% focus. However, furthertheir background as a player in their work but, down the levels in the game, the player/manager role still exists and, financially orof course, you don’t have to have been an practically, it is worthwhile for the club.outstanding player to be a successful manager If a player/manager is appointed, that person must lead from the front and set an– look at Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger.’ example to the rest of the team. Managers/coaches on the sidelines will better be able to see the pattern of theOf course, lower down the leagues, game as a whole than the captain. This is why in sports such as rugby union, youplayer/managers survive, but this is often often see players looking towards the touchline to get guidance on what particularfor financial reasons. Doubling up simply tactics to adopt.saves money.
    • |LIVING THE DREAM| COACHING EDGE 11ON THE WAYTO WEMBLEY How many millions of children have played in their back garden and dreamt of Wembley? For most it remains just that, a dream, but one small club in East Anglia showed that with great planning and the right spirit, nearly anything is within reach. Mark Pointer spoke to the coach who masterminded their run to the big stage... © ArchantG ood communication more than £3.5 million and is a national leader with your players is ‘The time you have in sports teaching for children. fundamental to with the players is ‘How to communicate with the players and to communicate in the right manner – how to sustained success.So says David Batch. The man who guided precious and you do impart our message to the players is really important and is probably more important thanWroxham, a small village club on the edge ofthe Norfolk Broads with an average not get much of it football-specific knowledge at this level,’ says Batch, who cites José Mourinho and Aidyattendance of less than 100, to last season’sFA Vase final at Wembley. and you have to Boothroyd as two managers who have mastered that particular art.The Yachtsmen have been Norfolk’s dominant take into The successful entrepreneur applied some coreforce at Eastern Counties level for the past 20years – or step five of the non-league consideration that business fundamentals to the task of guiding Wroxham to Wembley – after first establishingfootball pyramid. people have been with the Trafford Park club’s board the FA Vase was their top priority last season.Until Batch’s close-season arrival, nationalsuccess had eluded this well run club. But he working all day.’ ‘It came totally out of the blue when Wroxham asked if I wanted to become their manager,’brought with him an impeccable coaching he says.pedigree: a UEFA ‘A’ qualified coach and theyoungest-ever to achieve the FA advanced Batch gained experience in the professional ‘Most of the time you get asked to become acoaching licence when he was just 20 – the game with Cambridge United at youth level manager when that club is struggling.same year he became the youngest manager before founding his own company, Premier Wroxham has a great pedigree and were farin Norfolk senior football history at Downham. Sport, which now has an annual turnover of from struggling, but they felt they
    • 12 COACHING EDGE |LIVING THE DREAM|needed to step up a level, which made it quitean interesting challenge. FACTFILE‘I wanted those priorities and that remitbecause there was going to come times when I David Batch, Wroxham Footballwould need to give players a rest. Therefore, if I Club managerknew what their criteria were, it would make it  Youngest-ever manager in Norfolkeasier to work to.’ senior football when appointed boss of Downham Town aged 20Batch surrounded himself with backroom staff  Youth team manager at Cambridgewhose complementary skills he could blend as United when they were then ahe built foundations off the field before the key League Two club. Developedtask of player recruitment. He knew he had a several academy players whodecent base to work with and that would make graduated to the professional ranksattracting the right players a little easier. – including Trevor Benjamin whoWroxham brought in players from their own joined Leicester City for £1.3m inleague and the best local talent from the lower 2000leagues which might have been overlooked in  Cambridge City manager atthe past. Southern League level for a year‘We had certain player criteria – but probably  Only the second manager to guide a Norfolk football club to the FAthe most important thing for me was what they Vase final when Wroxham reachedwere like as people,’ says Batch. ‘We wanted Wembley this seasonpeople who were hungry to improve andhungry to win. We made no promises to the  Chief executive and founder ofplayers at the start, apart from that they would Premier Sport, which is abe treated the most professionally they could nationwide coaching company withbe treated at this level of football.’ an annual turnover of £3.5m–£4m specialising in sports teachingBefore a ball was kicked, Batch sat down with and instruction.his playing squad to find out what they wantedfrom the season ahead and what keywords Whitley Bay vwould form part of a collective blueprint. ‘So there are different factors involved. ‘We Wroxham FA Vase final tried to design our sessions to have an impactBatch would refer frequently to that agreed on as many people as possible. My style hastemplate during the campaign. The players now evolved into setting up the sessions withwanted to create a ‘family’ environment at the ‘We have had to coach in different ways and it restrictions to coax things out of the players thatfootball club – somewhere they liked going, might mean not even putting on a session, but I want, and then letting the game and lettingseeing their teammates and where their families coaching people into our way and how we the players find that – rather than saying youliked to accompany them. want things done, to educate them away from do this and you do that. the pitch.’‘The time you have with the players is precious,you do not get much of it and you Inevitably, given the desire for a successful FAhave to take into consideration Vase campaign, preparations for those gamesthat people have been differed from the league, mainly because ofworking all day,’ he says. time and budget. Batch had every FA Vase opponent watched. ‘We trained to expose any weakness they may or may not have and organised ourselves for specific situations that may arise,’ he says. ‘As for budget, if we went away we would stop and have a pre-match meal or stay overnight if we had a long journey to make. © Archant
    • |LIVING THE DREAM| COACHING EDGE 13 © Peter Cziborra/Action Images Limited‘We trained and prepared like you would do horrible experience, but one I would take Last month, Batch, along with his staff andat a professional football club – we might not again – because not many people have players, again sat down to devise a freshhave had much time, but we dealt with it.’ done it. blueprint for the new season that looks to evolve the ‘family’ ethos which underpinned lastWith Wroxham’s progress to within touching ‘I would rather be in the ring than watching as season’s achievements.distance of Wembley, Batch also had to an outsider. Losing in a game like that hurts andmanage the rising expectations and pressures we can do something about that this coming ‘I am really proud of the environment of honestyaffecting his players who were on the verge of season and when we do beat teams we will we have created and the biggest word thatmaking history. do it in the right way and be professional about came from the blueprint was trust. Trust between it with humility.’‘It was great testament to the players that they the players and the management staff,kept referring back to the blueprint and the Batch believes Wroxham Football Club now which hopefully we can use to our benefitwords that kept coming up were improvement has the foundations for sustained success. in the future.’and humility,’ he says. ‘Winning each roundwas good, but we knew we had not won THE COACH’S EDGEanything and needed to step it up and improvein order to compete.’ Good communication with your players is the number one priority. David Batch says: ‘How to impart our message to the players is really importantWroxham’s memorable FA Vase run ended and is probably more important than football-specific knowledge at this level.’without the fairytale postscript as holdersWhitley Bay proved too strong on the big day. Core business fundamentals are needed – establish the top priority/target.But Batch knew his squad had done everything Choose your fellow coaches wisely. Work with staff whose skills complementthey could to prepare. And he learned another your own.invaluable lesson from the Yachtsmen’s If changing players, consider what they are like (as Batch says) ‘as people’.humbling 6– defeat. 1 ‘We wanted people who were hungry to improve and hungry to win.’‘The journey was a brilliant one,’ he says. Establish what the players want to gain from the season ahead and ensure they‘I am sure I will look back on it fondly and I buy in to a ‘collective blueprint’.am really proud of the players for doing it, butthe biggest thing is I hate losing – that was a
    • 14 COACHING EDGE |MENTORS|POOLINGEXPERIENCE Coaches are meant to inspire their athletes and teams, to always be there for them with a word from the wise. But who is there for the coaches themselves? Howard Foster examines the importance of the mentor, and © Austyn Shortman what qualities they ought to possess...
    • |MENTORS| COACHING EDGE 15 edication, perspiration ‘Nowadays, with coaching courses and theD Internet, coaches can get access to techniques and…inspiration. We all have sporting idols and things of a more technical nature. Mentors provide the help for troubleshooting, the things KEYQUALITIES whose methods and you don’t find in a textbook.’ achievements spur us on. Christine Nash’s research states Dame Kelly Holmes, who founded her ownBut a poster of Muhammad Ali, or a mentoring scheme ‘On Camp with Dame Kelly’ the top qualities a mentor should possess are:worn-out VHS of the Barcelona 1992 recently, told The Sunday Times: ‘For me, it’s 1. Effective communication skillsOlympic and Paralympic Games aren’t about an exchange of knowledge and learning 2. Knowledge of their sportmuch use when it comes to rolling out of to benefit a person who’s on the same journey 3. Experience as you. But it’s as much about nurturingbed in the dark for yet another 4. Approachability self-belief and confidence.’ 5. Enthusiasmuninspired early-morning training 6. Qualifications of the mentorsession, or helping you realise why your One of her ‘mentees’, athlete Laura Finucane, 7. Success in their sportmost talented protégé’s competition said Dame Kelly’s help was invaluable when 8. Organisational skills she suffered an injury: ‘When I hurt my calf lasttimes don’t match up to their year, having just recovered from another injury, The top three qualities identified bytraining sessions. having her there gave me the extra self-belief I student coaches in a study by Nash were: needed to stick with the sport.’You need real-life inspiration to fill the gap 1. Effective communication skills 2. Approachabilitybetween training courses and job experience –which is why more and more coaches arebeing encouraged to work with mentors. ‘For me, it’s about 3. Enthusiasm Mentors ranked different skills in an exchange of their top four:Long-established in the business world, amentor is defined as a ‘wise and trusted guide knowledge and 1. Knowledge of their sport 2. Experienceand advisor; a teacher or counsellor’. learning to benefit 3. Organisation 4. LeadershipIn his pioneering 1998 book A Guide toMentoring Sports Coaches, Bill Galvin points a person who’s on Key ways in which a mentor canout the vital role the mentor plays – stressing:‘Mentoring is a powerful tool in the education the same journey as assist a coach are: 1. Being a resourceand development of sports coaches at all you. But it’s as 2. Building confidence 3. Developing knowledge and skillslevels. Successful coach educationprogrammes change the behaviour and much about 4. Being challenging and questioning 5. Being a role model.practice of coaches – whether they are novicesor (at an) international (level)’. But he adds: nurturing self-belief‘The process of mentoring is difficult to pindown; this is a strength, not a weakness.’ and confidence.’ to work together. What we need to do is share techniques and advice. We are now working together for the common good.’This view is endorsed by Christine Nash, Austyn Shortman is widely acknowledged aslecturer in sports coaching at Edinburgh Napier one of the finest swimmers Britain has ever Shortman – who cites his own father as hisUniversity: ‘Mentoring can fill the gap between produced. His record speaks for itself: Double coach/mentor during his competitive career –a good training course and on-the-job Commonwealth silver medallist in 1990 in the has these tips for mentors to impart to coaches:experience, offering a mixture of both. A lot of 4x100m freestyle relay alongside the likes of ‘Stick to your beliefs – dont be distracted.coaches, when they finish doing a course, don’t Mark Foster, and in the 4x100 medley relay Young inexperienced coaches need to havealways see the direct relevance of what they when teammates included Adrian Moorhouse. the courage of their convictions and not behave learned, and being able to have And, until recently, Shortman was World swayed by other influences, especially parents.someone to talk to about it is a very Masters record holder for 50m freestyle. He ishelpful thing.’ now the county swimming development officer ‘The strength of conviction comes with for Carmarthenshire County Council. experience, and a mentor can take the‘Some people learn better practically than in a pressure off by reminding the coach of theirclassroom environment. The difference is Shortman is in the process of developing a qualities and supporting their right to coach inhaving someone who has been through the formal mentoring scheme and currently mentors their own way.’same thing.’ his junior coaches on a more relaxed, ad hoc basis. He says the advantages of the new Echoing what Shortman tells us about a keyNash, who has coached swimming at scheme are clear, with a pooling of experience mentoring role of allowing less experiencedinternational level in both Scotland and the the obvious benefit. coaches to find their own style, and to haveUS, gives the example of a training course confidence in their abilities, Galvin says:role-playing exercise where other course ‘We are getting cooperation between three ‘Mentoring means different things with differentmembers take on the role of, say, a group previously separate regions. Where once coaches at different levels. With noviceof 10 year olds. However, such a group in coaches jealously guarded their techniques coaches, mentoring may be abouta real-life coaching situation can act and information, now, crucially, they are empowering and helping coaches to controlvery differently… sharing – perhaps not everything – but enough the learning process for themselves.’
    • 16 COACHING EDGE |MENTORS|Nash states the relationship between thementor and coach should be based on mutualtrust and respect, and allow both to developtheir respective skills.‘Initially’, she says, ‘the mentor has the relevant © Sandra Teddy/Action Images Limitedexperience and generally more power, orinfluence, within the organisation. The successof any mentoring relationship relies on thementor allowing the beginner to extend theirknowledge and play a more dominant role Great Britain’s Kelly Holmesthan at the outset’. celebrates after crossing the finishNash firmly believes mentoring should be a line to win the gold medal in Athensprocess, with the end product seen as theempowerment of the coach. those with a less notable record on the world the 1st4sport Level 3 Certificate in Mentoring in sporting stage. Sport, developed in partnership with sports‘You are looking for the development of the coach UK, is the qualification for you. Theperson who is being mentored. Older coaches shouldn’t discount the need for qualification is being used by a growing mentors too, although Nash believes many number of governing bodies of sport as the‘They should eventually be able to give advice already have a mentoring system in place, benchmark qualification for mentors.to the mentor. In the beginning there is a flow of albeit an informal one: ‘At a higher level they Alternatively, you can take your support skills toinformation from mentor to novice. Then it develop networks. They don’t use the word the next level and attend the sports coach UKbecomes more reciprocal.’ mentor. They know who has been in their sport workshop ‘A Guide to Mentoring Sports quite a while and that they have someone to Coaches’. To find your nearest workshop, visitBut she warns: ‘In some organisations and talk to.’ the workshop finder at www.sportscoachuk.orgmentoring situations, the idea of the mentorrelinquishing authority, especially to a beginner, Coaching is a long road – there will always beis a difficult concept to introduce.’ room for development. And the way to ensure you are always moving forward and staying on ‘The strength ofChoosing the right mentor – and choice is theoperative word – is vital to a successful top of the game is to choose a mentor who is conviction comes doing likewise. The support they will provideprocess. Nash stresses: ‘Difficulties arise if amentor is imposed. It should be someone you could provide that crucial extra five per cent with experience, andknow and respect. If you know next to nothing difference between coaching the gallant contenders or the gold medallists. a mentor can takeabout who they are it’s very difficult to get intothat situation. After all, it is very hard to tell Where to go next? the pressure off bysomeone your weaknesses, and a lot ofcoaches see mentors as having an impact on Clutterbuck, D. (2004) Everyone Needs a reminding the coachwhether they are seen as a good orbad coach.’ Mentor. 4th edition. London: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. of their qualities andVital attributes for a mentor are, she believes: ISBN: 978-1-843980-54-4. supporting their‘Someone you trust, admire and respect, Galvin, B. (2005) A Guide to Mentoring right to coach in Sports Coaches. Leeds: Coachwise Businesssomeone who has knowledge and the abilityto communicate that knowledge.’ Solutions/The National Coaching Foundation. their own way.’ ISBN: 978-1-902523-03-2.Getting a mentor can be a tricky business, Kay, D. and Hinds, R. (2004) A Practical Austyn Shortman’s key THE COACH’S EDGEhowever, especially if you are in a minority tips for mentors to impartsport or already the most senior in your local Guide to Mentoring: Play an Active and Worthwhile Part in the Development of to coaches:field. However, Nash believes you can searchfor your mentor across other sports – many Others, and Improve Your Own Skills in the Stick to your beliefs – don’ttechniques, psychological tips and injury Process. Oxford: How To Books Ltd. be distracted.problems will cross over. ‘If you’re talking about ISBN: 978-1-845280-18-5. Have confidence in your abilities.someone who is just starting in coaching, Pegg, M. (1998) The Art of Mentoring.there’s an awful lot of transfer between sports A huge part of what a mentor can Gloucestershire: Management Books 2000 do for a coach is to enhance theirat the early stages. A lot of team sports are Ltd. ISBN: 978-1-852522-72-8. ability to self-reflect, but with thevery similar, so are a lot of athletic sports.’ determination to analyse what you Zachary, L.J. (2000) The Mentors Guide: do and change as necessary.You can also broaden the field – we can’t all Facilitating Effective Learning Relationships.have a Commonwealth silver medallist as a San Francisco: Jossey Bass. Young inexperienced coachescoach – but it is respect that is vital. In Galvin’s ISBN: 978-0-787947-42-2. need to have the courage of theirwords ‘the technical knowledge of a coach convictions and not be swayed bywho has competed at a high level’ can prove If you’re interested in developing your other influences, especiallyinvaluable. But it does not bar the way for skills in the area of mentoring other coaches, parents/families of team members.
    • Give your coaching the edge with sports coach UK workshopsWHATEVER LEVEL YOU COACH,SPORTS COACH UK HAS AWORKSHOP FOR YOU.For more information visit:www.sportscoachuk.org/improveyourcoaching
    • 18 COACHING EDGE |ONE MOMENT IN TIME| NORMAN’S WISDOM Many of us enjoy a defining moment in our sporting career, a time when things come right either as a coach or as a performer. For Norman Hughes, successful coach and businessman, it was an Olympic Games which by rights his team should not even have qualified for, as Sam Hawcroft discovered.N orman Hughes was part friends at Crewe County Grammar School for As he reached his mid-20s, an international Boys cajoled him into playing hockey for a few career beckoned; after becoming a senior of the Great Britain weeks, although Hughes took a fair bit of professional in 1977, Hughes went on to bronze medal-winning become the first English male hockey player to convincing – as far as he saw it (and to a hockey team at the Los certain extent people still do), hockey was a reach 100 caps, and he captained theAngeles 1984 Olympic Games. Here he girls’ game; he admits he didn’t really want to national team more than 70 times in a careertalks about his journey towards that be seen as a ‘nancy boy’, to put it bluntly. spanning nearly a decade. At Los Angeles 1984, he was initially awarded thedefining moment, and how it has However, another of his fellow pupils, David Swallow, who went on to be a leading vice-captaincy, but finished the tournament asinfluenced his highly successful coaching captain – leading a team seen very much ascareer since then. international hockey umpire and who is now outsiders to an unprecedented bronze-medal the head teacher of Barry Comprehensive victory against Australia, who had beenHughes, now 57, somewhat reluctantly School in South Wales, finally managed to favourites for the gold.embarked on a career in hockey in 1968, at persuade him to play – and Hughes realisedthe age of 16 – relatively late in life compared that he did, after all, have a bit of a natural flair The road to the 1984 Games wasn’t awith today, he points out – after his football for the sport. ‘I had a go, and I thought – “I straightforward one, however; Britain’s hockeyteacher told him he was too short to forge a can play this”. You know pretty soon if you’ve players had been due to go out to thecareer as a centre-forward. A couple of school got the knack of playing a game.’ Moscow Games four years earlier, but their
    • |ONE MOMENT IN TIME| COACHING EDGE 19 © Norman HughesNorman Hughes and theWakefield girls celebrateanother success (including five golds) – but field hockey bosses spent a lot of that time at Lilleshall getting very, ‘Play with a smile at the time decided to support the government’s stance and stay at home. very fit.’ on your face – For the Los Angeles Games, Britain’s hockey In a lot of senses, this meant the pressure was off. Hughes said: ‘Nothing was expected from because life’s too team did not initially make the cut, but were made first reserves. Fortunately for them, us, but deep down as a squad we realised that we were in with a shout – we wouldn’t be far short to take sport however, in what appeared to be a clear off the mark. But people outside the squad too seriously.’ retaliation against the Americans’ 1980 boycott, the Soviets refused to turn up to the obviously didn’t realise that, and with us being first reserves, they’d pretty much written us off. 1984 Games – meaning GB hockey were set They thought we’d probably come 9th or 10th, challenge was scuppered by a boycott of the to play a part after all, earning a very late but no better than that.’ event by Margaret Thatcher’s government, call-up a little over two months before the start along with the US and many other countries, in of the tournament. ‘We thought we’d blown it However, Great Britain’s men won through to protest over the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. about nine months earlier when we went the semi-finals, topping their group above Most UK sporting governing bodies defied the through a qualification process in Hong Kong eventual gold medal-winners Pakistan, but then ban, and Great Britain ended up coming an and lost out to Malaysia,’ says Hughes, ‘but narrowly lost out to that familiar sporting impressive seventh in the medals table, with 21 now we’d got 10 weeks to prepare – so we nemesis, West Germany. Their performance in
    • 20 COACHING EDGE |ONE MOMENT IN TIME| COACHING THE HUGHES WAY ‘Hard work, in the end, pays off.’ It may not be a particularly flashy motto, but it’s the overriding lesson Hughes has learned from his numerous achievements, and it’s the main message he tries to get across to the youngsters he works with daily – as well as their parents. ‘The mums and dads may get agitated about their children not having made the various squads, but I just keep urging them to hold on; it comes in waves, and if you keep working and working, you’ll get where you want to go. It’s determination never to give in – maybe a selection might go against you, or the ball might not run for you, but keep going, keep working hard, and over time, things will level out.’ Hughes also has a message for elite coaches, whom he says have a ‘duty’ to give something back to their sport at grass-roots level. ‘Some of the top coaches and performers get so involved in the elite that they don’t have time – or they don’t find time – © Norman Hughes Norman Hughes coaching at to work where they’re most needed, and that’s with kids. A lot of sports, not the National Seminar for just hockey, put their so-called top Lithuanian Coaches performers and coaches working with just the elite 30 senior internationals inthe group stages – drawing against Pakistan, give it all out there – guts and everything – the country – when really, if the next crop coming through is going to be aand beating the Netherlands, New Zealand don’t bring anything back. Don’t leave anything healthy crop, they should be workingand Kenya – was the best ever by any British on the pitch.” The game should have been with the eight to 12-year-old kids,hockey team in the Games thus far. ‘We just completely beyond us – but we managed to instilling in them the right habitslost the wrong game!’ says Hughes. turn it around and won 3–2.’ and skills.’The battle for third place was not just a Though this was undoubtedly the pinnacle offormality, though – it was to be another Hughes’ career, what he has gone on to the England Hockey Cup for the past threegripping contest among old rivals, and one achieve since then – and, more to the point, years in a row.almost worthy of the Olympic Games’ final what he has helped others achieve – is, in hisitself. Hughes adds: ‘Without a shadow of a ‘To be honest, that’s just as inspirational as eyes, equally as important.doubt, the best team there were Australia – but playing in any Olympic final or World Cupthey lost to Pakistan in the semi-final, so we final’, says Hughes. ‘A young player might not He retired from the international game afterended up playing against them for the bronze think that at the time, when they’re, say, 24, but playing in the World Cup final in London inmedal – and they absolutely pounded us for now, to see a bunch of young players grow 1986, when England lost 2–1 to Australia, and35 minutes. The game should have been and achieve their potential is really inspiring – it later coached Great Britain’s men to sixthdead and buried – but we dug deep, and becomes a lot of fun.’our goalkeeper, Ian Taylor, was place in the Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games,absolutely outstanding. and England to bronze in the European And despite the fact that Hughes – now the Championships in Paris. Since then, he has owner of West Yorkshire-based equipment‘Just before half-time, when we were 2–1 down, returned to club-level coaching with Wakefield specialist Wasp Hockey – has played andwe sensed that the Aussies’ legs had gone – Hockey Club, becoming involved with both the coached at the highest level, he insists that funthat they’d given everything to get the game senior men’s and women’s teams, as well as is what sport should be all about.over with. At half-time, several of us senior pros leading the girls’ teams – aged from six to 15 –got the lads together and said, “Look, they’ve to a series of impressive victories. Under his ‘Play with a smile on your face – because life’sgone – they’ve absolutely gone. Go out and guidance, the under-16 team has triumphed in too short to take sport too seriously.’
    • |CRICKET LESSONS FROM T20| COACHING EDGE 2120:20VISIONEven a year ago, could you have predicted England’s men would becricket world champions? But that’s precisely what happened in theCaribbean this May and, as Richard Gibson discovered, it’s noaccident... coaches throughout the sport have been adapting to a wholenew discipline in the grand old game.
    • 22 COACHING EDGE |CRICKET LESSONS FROM T20| wenty20 was dismissed as a of facing Steve Harmison and batting for a dayT and a half. Or it might go the other way, where hit-and-giggle fad upon its you have been grafting for your runs in inception, but, seven years Championship cricket and then are expected to on, its increasing influence go out in a Twenty20 contest and crash it from has led to a serious overhaul ball one.’of how professional coaches prepare Encouraging players to visualise what they aretheir players and teams. trying to accomplish in forthcoming matches and familiarise themselves with their upcomingMost intriguingly, having been derided for its surroundings has become a major componentlack of subtlety, it has delivered various strands in the modern coaching ethos. So, whereasof new thinking. traditionally batsmen would tinker withCricket is undoubtedly the strangest beast techniques and bowlers seek line and length inamong our major national ball sports in that it regular net sessions, they now take ancomes in three different packages. But its altogether different approach: often working onnewest arrival is impacting positively on the the particular match venue’s square to get usedapproaches to the game in general. to its idiosyncrasies – the distance to each boundary, wind direction and general visibility.The 20-over format’s fast pace andconcentrated time span has led those in chargeto focus on the minutiae of nutrition, fitness andtechnique. After all, the smallest of gains canmake the biggest of differences for a team,particularly when results are settled by the ‘Particularly withnarrowest of margins. Twenty20 in mind, England’s Kevin Pietersen, Craig KieswetterSome will argue that modernisation ofcoaching methods was inevitable, but it is batsmen now and Paul Collingwood celebrate with theindisputable that the emergence of this sleek practise power trophy after they defeated Australia in the final of the ICC World Twenty20, 2010Twenty20 vehicle has put cricket on a road togreater wealth, and with greater wealth comes hitting into theimproved resources. For example, full-timenutritionists and fitness coaches on the county stands, a tactic Batters will also spend designated periodscircuit would have been unthinkable just ahandful of years ago. associated with reverse-sweeping or switch-hitting. Repetition drills also apply for bowlers in deliveringSussex’s Mark Robinson and Paul Grayson, of cow-corner yorkers, slower balls and bouncers. And withEssex, are two of the head coaches who haveembraced the evolution and been successful to merchants in club greater volume of time now spent on magnified technical areas within the game itself, evenboot; in four years at Hove, Robinson has cricket a decade fielding practice has altered.overseen two County Championship titles, twoPro40 titles and victories in both 50-over and or so ago.’ Gone are the days when the entire team followed a uniform session. Now individualsTwenty20 finals; while in two full years as head are asked to concentrate on skills specific tocoach at Chelmsford, Grayson has celebrated their role in the field.Friends Provident and Pro40 Division Two Particularly with Twenty20 in mind, batsmen And the influence of day/night cricket hascrowns, promotion to the top tier of the now practise power hitting into the stands, a resulted in practice sessions being arranged inChampionship and an appearance at tactic associated with cow-corner merchants in twilight with the floodlights on, so that eyes areTwenty20 finals day. club cricket a decade or so ago. trained for every possible match situation.Remaining competitive across all formats is theirprimary challenge given the 24/7 nature of But, as Grayson – who takes his team to his ‘There is definitely more intensity in fielding drillsEnglish domestic cricket. ‘Therefore, players county’s largest ground, Billericay, to target than before and it has become more specialist,’have to be helped with their mental clearing the ropes – explains, there is far more Grayson says.progression,’ explains Robinson. finesse to their aerial assaults. ‘You don’t see nine, 10 and jack getting runs in Twenty20 ‘Someone who fields deep cover or deep‘They have to be able to think about what they cricket, it’s the technically correct batsmen who midwicket will practise boundary catches orare trying to do, trigger a mental switch to are clearing their front legs to hit over midwicket running in to stop twos, while close fielders willmake sure they have shaken out of one mode or giving themselves room to hit over the concentrate on diving and under-arm shies atwhen they turn up to play another. off-side, like we have seen Craig Kieswetter do the stumps. The change in the way we think for England. about fielding is emphasised by someone like‘You find that your best sportsmen are usually Eoin Morgan, who does long-on at both endsthe most flexible. You can prepare a team to ‘It’s no coincidence that the guys who are for England. That is all part of the way the teampeak for an important one-day game and then successful six-hitters practise so hard – and they under Andy Flower has been drilled. They allsend them into a situation where you are asking are helped of course by how great these bats know their own games and know exactlythem just 24 hours later to get ready for the task are these days.’ where they need to go.
    • |CRICKET LESSONS FROM T20| COACHING EDGE 23‘Little differences can win games and so ‘Twenty20 has influenced players moving make the right choices for your next move.fielding becomes even more important: hunting around the pitch in a more dynamic manner Fitness has to be job specific and relate toin packs, chasing the ball down in twos or and you are now expected to dive, hit the performance, and that has to be supported byrelaying it back to the stumps. You only have ground and be strong enough to get back up good nutrition and good sleep.one-and-a-quarter hours to field and players without incurring injury due to the impact,’seem to have decided that they will give it their explains Robinson. ‘We need players who can peak for events,all before coming off.’ although our events are complicated because ‘We are looking for anaerobic rather than our season is so congested. A lot of otherConditioning of players has also come on in aerobic fitness – it’s the short, sharp bursts that sports involve peaking for a match on aleaps and bounds in the past decade: Essex’s you want players to excel in, not run marathons. Saturday, but we can’t do that because wesquad, now au fait with regular ice baths, were It’s about being able to perform your action – are playing five days a week. So endurancegiven personalised diet plans at the start of the whether it be bowling a ball, chasing in the is another key part of being a2010 season and, whereas stop-offs at field or running between the wickets, and then professional cricketer.’fast-food joints used to be the norm on longcoach journeys back from away matches, theyare now very much a scheduled treat. THE COACH’S EDGE‘Body shapes and what players eat both In ‘quick’ formats of sport, the smallest of gains can make the biggest ofpre- and post-match has changed differences, particularly when results are settled by the narrowest of margins.considerably,’ Grayson says. Encourage players to visualise what they are trying to accomplish and familiarise‘Protein shakes have become a staple part of themselves with their upcoming surroundings – in cricket this may be the distancethe diet, guys are now even reluctant to have a to each boundary, wind direction and general visibility.beer, which is a big change from my playing Players with good technique can adapt, so spend designated periods ondays, and if they are not rehydrated sufficiently repetition drills.they are not allowed to take part in fitness workafter the game.’ Ensure individuals concentrate on skills specific to their role. In short forms of a game, coaches look for anaerobic rather than aerobicSussex were market leaders in fitness fitness – it’s the short, sharp bursts that you want players to excel in.in the early noughties, and their current12-month-a-year programme is based uponbuilding cricket-specific strength.
    • 24 COACHING EDGE |COMMONWEALTH GAMES |LET THE(FRIENDLY )GAMESBEGIN...Fans (and politicians) may be hoping for medals at The London 2012Olympic and Paralympic Games and in the future, but as JohnGoodbody discovers, the best coaches already know the value,and are learning the lessons, of events such as the upcomingCommonwealth Games too...A lways known as ‘The spice to the competitions, while also allowing ‘In individual world championships, competitors Friendly Games’, the even more UK athletes to take part. are usually staying in a hotel, but at the Commonwealths there is a village with thousands Commonwealth Games Don Parker, the sports director for of competitors. The experience of holding camps holds a popular and Commonwealth Games England, points out that is also helpful.’unique place in the psyche of the the Games are the second most important multi-sports event in which most competitors take This year, the main holding camp will be inBritish public. Doha, where about 150 out of the 360 England part, and the British Olympic Association (BOA)Their status may not be what they were before has researched the benefit that athletes have had team members will attend pre-Delhi training, butsports such as athletics, swimming and boxing in subsequently winning Olympic medals, from Commonwealth Games England has learnt thehad their own individual world championships, having previously participated in Commonwealth value, as has the BOA, of individual governingbut they remain not only an alluring feature for multi-sport events. bodies preparing in the way that best suitsmany television viewers, but also a valuable their competitors.introduction to athletes to the rigours of multi-sport Among recent examples he cites are: boxerinternational competition. James DeGale, who progressed from winning This autumn the cyclists, for instance, will attend a the Commonwealth Youth Games in 2004, to a camp in Newport, just as they did before theThe standard varies widely, not just from sport to bronze medal in the Commonwealth Games in triumphs in Beijing, while the wrestlers will stay insport, but also in the events of those sports. So, 2006, to his Olympic title two years later; Russia after the world championships for furtherin athletics, some of the running events will be heptathlete Jessica Ennis getting a high jump preparation in one of the strongholds of the sport.almost of world championship level, with the medal in the 2004 Youth Games, a bronze in theKenyans often dominating the middle and John Atkinson, who will be team leader for 2006 Commonwealths and the world title inlong-distance races, while in the sprints there will swimming in India, says: ‘There are perhaps four 2009; and Beth Tweddle competing in the 2000be enormous interest should Usain Bolt take part or five events in the Commonwealth Games,for Jamaica when this year’s Games take place Youth Games and subsequently winning world gymnastics titles. which are possibly harder to win than the worldin Delhi, India from October 3–14. championships because in the CommonwealthHowever, in many field events, there will be Parker says: ‘You learn an enormous amount in Games, countries are allowed to enter three perrelatively few world-class performers on show. multi-sport environments and, given the small event instead of two and there is in a big rivalry percentages by which Olympic medals are won, between Australia, Canada, South Africa, whoThe separate participation of the individual the Commonwealth Games provides an are progressing fast, and the home nations. Thenations making up the United Kingdom adds invaluable experience. standard is much higher than it was before 2002.
    • |COMMONWEALTH GAMES | COACHING EDGE 25 ‘You learn an enormous amount in multi-sport environments.’ continued. It is one of the compensations for all the hard work she and other gymnasts put in.’ One of the dangers of the village environment of a multi-sport event is the ready availability, 24 hours a day, of huge quantities of food, which does not occur in hotels for other competitions. Dr Kevin Currell, a performance nutritionist with the English Institute of Sport, says: ‘At an event such as the Commonwealth Games, athletes are in a situation that perhaps they have never had to face before. There is a huge range of food for different cultures. It is free and readily available and, for some people, they are facing the most important event of their life. It is not an ideal situation. ‘Athletes who have been training really hard and are tapering for their event may feel they deserve the food as a reward. And they have to be helped to manage the situation. ‘There will be vast buffets, which are obviously a hygiene challenge in themselves, and there is the danger of trying food to which your stomach may not be accustomed. There is also the danger of overeating, not only for competitors in weight category sports, but for everyone. Consultation has to take place as to what‘So the competition is an ideal preparation for the ‘You have to be dedicated in gymnastics, as in all individual competitors need close to their event.’Olympics and the Commonwealth Games do sports, but while Imogen’s friends outside thealso allow the home nations to enter sport were going out and having fun, Imogen The lessons learned at the Commonwealthseparate teams. had to train. Games in October will be useful at the 2012 games. Although an attractive event in its own‘England has 51 swimmers, including those for ‘At the Commonwealths and Olympics, Imogen right, the Commonwealth Games will alsothe six Paralympic events, which are interspersed was able to go into something fresh and meet certainly be an invaluable dress-rehearsal for thein the main programme, and this also enables the new people. And these friendships have London 2012 Games.Paralympians to get experience before theParalympic Games in 2012.’ THE COACH’S EDGEAtkinson adds: ‘It is not only the standard of What will coaches take away from the Commonwealth Games?competition, there is also the environment of the Research by the British Olympic Association has shown how few individuals winvillage with 3000–4000 people, including medals at their first Olympic Games. Taking part previously in a multi-sportsinternational stars. At the world championships, event, such as the Commonwealth Games, with the different pressures fromyou are more likely to be able to control every competing in world or European championships, helps prepare individuals forsingle detail than you are in the environment of a the greater rigours of the Olympic Games.multi-sports competition.’ Holding camps work best when they are tailored towards the need of individualIn some sports, British competitors are passing up sports, rather than all the competitors preparing together in the same locationthe chance of going to the Games because it before an Olympic Games or Commonwealth Games.clashes with other events. At world championships, coaches can better control the details of preparation than they can at multi-sports events. This issue has to be addressed by officials.Gymnasts have their own world championshipsin Rotterdam the same month (October 16–24) The Commonwealth Games allows competitors to mix with other sportsmen and women from different disciplines, so widening their horizons, which might havebut Imogen Cairns, who was England’s only become narrow because of their focus on their own activity.gold medallist in artistic gymnastics in 2006, isaiming to retain her vault title. Liz Kincaid, her The village atmosphere, with unlimited food 24 hours a day, can provide acoach at the Academy of Gymnastics in temptation to the unwary athlete. There are hygiene challenges from the openPortishead, North Somerset, says: ‘Gymnastics is buffets, the attraction of exotic food and the danger of overeating, not only forone big family but you can see too much of the those in weight category events such as boxing and weightlifting.same people.
    • 26 COACHING EDGE |ANALYSING YOUR COACHING| The team’s winning, the athlete’s on top, so all’s well... right? Not necessarily, as even the best coaches need to look at their own performance, as Jeff Thornton discovered. © Steven Paston/Action Images Limited
    • |ANALYSING YOUR COACHING| COACHING EDGE 27W hile sportsmen and improve, and just as you want your athlete or native county of Rutland, where he helps coach team to achieve excellence, to also achieve it as part of a busy new career which also women at the top yourself in the discipline of coaching. involves plenty of charity work and fundraising. level need bags of confidence, and He reflects upon styles and suggests picturing Hampson says from the off he has had tomay even believe that too much the coaching styles as a continuum, where consider exactly what he says. ‘I cant perhaps 10 is very dictatorial, while one would physically perform the drill or the skill, so I needthought on why they are winning can be so laid back its horizontal. to verbally instruct. There are lots of differentintroduce doubts, it’s always good styles of teaching people – some get itto understand what will bring success ‘As I say, you need to analyse how you come verbally, others have to see it – and then I’lland improvement. across. As a coach I realise that I tend to tell pick two players and talk them through what I people...but that I need to discuss, suggest and want them to do.’In coaching, while it’s great to have the listen. I need to analyse the environment, so Icourage of your convictions, it’s also wise to have to therefore develop the skills of moving He says this method was what he used whenquestion everything – how your opponents back down the continuum. On that scale of taking his level one qualification, but that heperformed, how your athlete or team got on 1–10, with 10 purely telling, and one listening, has analysed closely his style as a coach.and why...and especially how your own I’m perhaps a 7.’ ‘What I have learned, not just at Oakhamperformance as a coach measured up. when coaching but in life, is that as I have aTo Dr Hamish Telfer, a former senior lecturer ‘When I played I care team all the time, I have to be able to verbally instruct. Every facet of my life revolvesat the University of Cumbria – formerly StMartin’s College, Lancaster – and an got shouted at, trod around that, so it comes naturally to me.experienced top-level national athletics coach,this latter part is absolutely vital for the down if you like, it ‘Everybody is different. When I played I got shouted at, trod down if you like, it was a toughdevelopment not only of the coach, but alsoof the athlete or performer. was a tough environment. I benefitted from that but a lot don’t. Some players respond just from a quietSo important in fact, that Dr Telfer is a leading environment. I word. I have learnt to empathise, to work people out.figure in sports coach UK workshops aimed atAnalysing Your Coaching. benefited from that ‘I did a bit of coaching before my accident, but‘In the workshops, and in this whole subject but a lot don’t.’ not too much. I found it difficult, but I was a lot younger then. I’ve grown up a hell of a lot inarea, we start from the presumption that most the five years since the accident, and havecoaches have only ever been assessed on their And Dr Telfer is quick to point out that the best experienced more than most people my age.team or athlete’s achievements and are coaches are able to adapt their styles asrespected on basis of what results they achieve. ‘I love seeing somebody improve. When they needed. ‘Of course, if you have, say 15In other words, they think that if the team or pick up something you’ve taught them and they people in a squad or team, and whatever levelathlete wins, I’m good! use it in a match, its very satisfying.’ they are at, some will want to talk, others will want you to tell them what to do, even at the‘Crossing over from the world of teaching, one highest level. So I need to be aware of thatthing we know is that this is nonsense...that it’s THE COACH’S EDGE and shift my approach. For more on Analysing Yourdown to the progress made.’ Coaching visit: ‘Analysis of coaching helps coaches becomeDr Telfer says the emphasis is not just on ‘what www.sportscoachuk.org more adaptable, to have the ability to workthe person coaches – of course in sport that ‘Analysing Your Coaching’ with all types of athletes, and develop allwill always be important, instead just as vital is workshops are due to be individuals...and in many sports that isthe ‘how’. something which simply does not happen. held on:‘A really good coach is the master of both,’ – 9 September (Bilston, Westhe says. ‘The best managers and coaches are ones who Midlands – to book email understand what their teams need, who winslowc@wolvcoll.ac.uk)‘A coach with the real ability is the one who understand how they can get the best out ofcan get the best out of athletes whose talent each individual within the team and, when – 20 September (St Helens,may not be quite as obvious as the (Paula) combined, the sum of those parts make the team Merseyside – to bookRadcliffes or (Sebastian) Coes of this world. better than they would be individually. A team telephone Ruth Moss on becomes greater than the sum of its parts.’ 01744-675 651)‘Analysing Your Coaching allows you to reflect – 29 September (Northupon your own performance, not just the One young coach who has been forced into a Shields, Tyne and Wear –outcome, and its about a model to fit both the deep analysis of his coaching is Matt to book emailperformance and participatory areas of sport.’ Hampson. He is the former rugby union prop chloe.blakey@ forward who became quadriplegic after an tynewearsport.org).The workshop, and the weighty Analysing Your accident while training with England’s under-21Coaching resource from sports coach UK, are side in early 2005. But Hampson remains For more on Matt Hampson, andaimed at helping you become the type of positive and has become a great role model, to follow his charity work, visit:coach you want to become, to continually not least to pupils at Oakham School in his www.matthampson.co.uk
    • 28 COACHING EDGE |MARATHON|IN THERUNNINGFOR 2011Virtually as soon as the last charity runner crossed the line, thousands of athletes in thisyear’s London Marathon were already mentally preparing for 2011’s event.Sam Hawcroft spoke to three people keen to take part on the streets of London nextspring, and will follow their preparations right up to the big day...as long as they make itthrough the ballot! Meanwhile, coaching experts will also assess their progress...
    • |MARATHON| COACHING EDGE 29‘In the end, you Sergio Lara-Bercial athletes know what they are doing, and why they are doing it, when this may not be theneed to have huge Spanish-born Sergio, 35, only started case – and this has been among the ‘biggest lessons’ he has learned since he begandetermination to running seriously about 18 months ago running. He adds: ‘When you’re training for a very unforgiving event like a marathon, youget from the – but says it has can’t really fake it – you’ve either done thebeginning to completely changed his life. As a leading training or you haven’t, and if you haven’t done the training you’re going to pay for it.’the end.’ basketball coach, he was already no stranger to fitness training and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but he soon discovered that, for him, Abi Masha running offered a whole host of new physical – Abi, 30, who has and even psychological – benefits. been running seriously for about two years, is Sergio first caught the running bug after feeling gearing up for what that he needed to do more for his father, who she hopes will be her suffers from Parkinson’s disease, so he set first London Marathon himself the challenge of running the equivalent next year. She only of the distance between his home in Stockport committed herself to signing up when the ballot and Madrid – some 1287 miles (2070km). He opened at the beginning of May – and won’t began his challenge in February 2009, and is know until October whether her application due to finish this July, when he’ll run the has been successful. In the meantime, however, marathon-length distance from the airport in she is in training for the Great North Run this Madrid to his father’s house. September; having run last year’s race in just For Sergio, the impact of becoming a serious under two hours, the half-marathon is the runner was almost instant, and took him furthest distance she’s done so far, and she’s somewhat by surprise. ‘The more I ran, the looking for a time of around 1h 45m, in what more I wanted to run,’ he says. He began, as will mark roughly the halfway stage in her most do, with the shorter distances, such as marathon preparations. ‘Hopefully this will 10Ks and half-marathons, before building up to stand me in good stead to let me know how far his first marathon in Barcelona last year, where I’ve progressed,’ she says. he clocked up an impressive time of 3h 6m. For Abi, running is very much about During his preparations, he talked to people self-motivation. After a friend introduced her to who had already run at least one marathon, it, she has never looked back; the ‘feel-good and he has embarked on a training regime that vibe’ and sense of daily achievement is enough balances mileage and speed. Regular long to spur her on – and she prefers to train on her distances mean leg muscles become more able own. She used to be a smoker, but taking up to cope with runs of two hours-plus, while long-distance running gave her the final impetus speed sessions help towards the overall aim of she needed to kick the habit for good. Put running a faster marathon. ‘Once you simply, she says, ‘You can’t smoke if you want understand why you’re doing both, it’s easier to to run.’ And, while she does aim to eat healthily get motivated and go out there.’ in general, and has improved her diet since she As a coach, Sergio believes that taking up began running, she is not obsessed by it – in running has helped him set a better example to fact, she confesses to having somewhat of a the athletes he trains – and even to his friends sweet tooth – but the fact she is burning off so and family. ‘I’ve become more organised in my many calories most days means she can afford training, more organised in my family life, and I a few indiscretions. work more efficiently – it’s the epicentre of Abi’s approach to the marathon is, no doubt, everything I do. It’s had such a positive impact like that of many first-timers: ‘I’m following on everything. My wife’s started running again, various different schedules that I’ve and a couple of friends have seen me run and have started to run themselves – it’s having a downloaded from the Internet,’ she says, kind of ripple effect.’ Running has also helped ‘and I’m just sticking to the ones I feel him enormously with his own motivational comfortable with. But I am taking it quite slowly, considering I’ve got a year to prepare.’ At the © Steven Paston/Action Images Limited techniques. During his basketball career, from which he retired eight years ago, he wasn’t so moment, she is going out for, on average, enlightened, as he says: ‘I didn’t quite know five to eight-mile runs every other day; she is why I was training; I got told to do something trying to work in some speed sessions, but and I did it. I never understood what I was admits she is finding this aspect of the training a supposed to be doing, because no one little difficult. At this stage, she’s unsure what sort explained it to me.’ Many coaches, Sergio of finish time she should be aiming for in the says, make the mistake of assuming that their marathon; having watched the elite athletes in
    • 30 COACHING EDGE |MARATHON|the race on TV, she says she couldn’t ever Abi’s background as a smoker and her love ofimagine being able to run a mile in 5.5 minutes sweet foods means the marathon could– but for her, it’s more about going the distance. represent a ‘huge task’ for her, says Scobie. ‘She has got a lot to do in order to be sure sheChris Pearce can run in this race, and that she can finish it; I think she needs to change an awful lot in herChris decided to sign lifestyle in order to achieve her goal. She © sports coach UKup for the marathon would need to be a fairly determined woman.’with a friend, as theyare both heading for As for Chris, Scobie warns that ‘anya personal milestone 40-year-old guy embarking on a marathon atnext year – hitting 40. that age could come up against all kinds of‘We want to do it problems; you’ve got to do the amount of work Further Readingwhile we still can,’ he says. Although he’s been necessary and you’ve got to stay healthyrunning seriously for at least six or seven years, throughout the training period. Avoid injury Balk, M. and Shields, A. (2009) Master thehe’s never gone the full 26.2 miles before, and illness while you put your body through Art of Running. London: Collins and Brown.having done a couple of half-marathons and a conditions of stress it has probably not ISBN: 978-1-843405-43-6.few 10Ks in the past. ever encountered.’ Hilditch, G. (2007) The Marathon and HalfHis main motivation is fitness – as he Scobie adds: ‘A marathon is a fairly substantial Marathon: A Training Guide. Wiltshire: Theapproached his late 20s, he decided he undertaking. Of course, you see people who Crowood Press. ISBN: 978-1-861269-63-8.needed to improve his general health and lose you wouldn’t think could do it actually doing it; Murakami, H. (2009) What I Talk About When Ia bit of weight, so took up running as a and the crowd helps, other race participants Talk About Running. USA: Vintage.pastime, initially. ‘I was not doing enough help – but in the end, you need to have huge ISBN: 978-0-099526-15-5.exercise and eating too many burgers – I determination to get from the beginning to therealised how unfit I was getting, and I thought, end, and before that, you’ve got to have a Nerurkar, R. (2008) Marathon Running: From“it’s time to turn things around”.’ Long-distance similar measure of determination to undertake Beginning to Elite. London: A & C Blackrunning has inspired Chris to transform his diet the preparation.’ Publishers. ISBN: 978-0-713688-52-8.and eat more healthily – he now aims to makemore meals from scratch instead of falling backon ready meals. How you can approach marathon training for... THE COACH’S EDGEChris has, however, taken breaks over theyears, but has been able to pick up more or A Beginnerless where he left off each time; he ran the 10K In terms of a marathon, a ‘beginner’ still needs to have some running/racingLeeds Abbey Dash in 2009 after not having experience and should be reasonably fit. If they cant run three milesrun for about a year. ‘I did a quick six weeks of comfortably, then perhaps you need to gently tell them that training for atraining for that – the first couple of runs were a 26.2-mile run is not the place to start. The main goal to set them should simplynightmare, but I started with easy runs of about be completing the distance, and not focusing on the time too much, if at all.three miles and gradually built up to the Although some speed work is necessary, the bottom line is that you need to getdistance. I am trying to take this one (the your runner used to long distances – beginners who are not used to runningmarathon) a bit more seriously, though!’ Like 20–25 miles a week need to gradually work this in to their training. It is crucialAbi, Chris’s first port of call for information and they don’t do too much too soon, though; start at three miles and slowly increase the distance week by week.advice has been the Internet – while he istrying to get his distance up gradually, he is An Intermediate runneralso following a guide on how to improve his You should assume that your runner has at least half-marathon experience, if notspeed by doing interval training once every actually having a marathon already under their belt. They should also be used tocouple of weeks. His main aim at the moment is running three to five days a week, covering 20–25 miles, and able togetting round the course, but he does have one comfortably run at least eight miles. Being at intermediate stage, the runner iseye on a sub four-hour time. likely to be looking to go one better than just completing the distance, so will be aiming to achieve a specific time. To this end, you should ideally encourage themThe coach’s view to supplement their long runs with some more intense running twice weekly, including sustained tempo runs at half-marathon race pace.Brian Scobie, England Athletics Area Coach An Advanced runnerMentor for endurance coaches (covering West Someone who falls into this category would have considerable marathonYorkshire, North Yorkshire, South Yorkshire and experience over at least three or four years, and be well used to training for suchHumberside), said that, of our three runners, an event; they should also be currently running 30–40 miles per week, andSergio’s playing and coaching background, comfortably be able to run at least 10 miles. Your runner will need to beand the discipline this has given him, certainly prepared to up their weekly mileage to about 50 per week, although bear ingives him the edge over the others. He said: mind that doing so many miles on the flat can lead to stagnation, mentally and‘Sergio seems to me to be highly focused; he’s physically – so incorporate interval training, fartlek training, hill climbs andbeen an elite sportsperson, and the fact he’s power exercises. Rest is always important, but at advanced level, it is crucial;doing it for his father means he’s found an your approach may be to say that your runner must takes one day off a week –external reason other than fitness.’ and this means a day off from all exercise, not just running.
    • |COACHING WITH NO CASH| COACHING EDGE 31 CR£DIT WHERE IT’SDUE Success comes at a price...not always the physical toll, instead its quite literally a monetary cost. While some © Paul Currie/Action Images Limited sports may be cash rich, and certain clubs bankrolled by benefactors, the truth is that most clubs in the majority of sports get by, just, on a shoestring, and if times are tough in post-recession Britain, they’re equally tough on sports clubs. Wessex Volleyball Club coach Lynn Allen reflects on a great season...and what the club must do to keep on going.A s we near the end of Our club has explored many possibilities for If you are not successful it’s valuable time another indoor volleyball reducing the cost of playing our sport, some wasted, but you have to try again. more successful than others: season, Wessex can reflect Governing body – This has been fruitful for us on many plus points. Fundraising – Due to the commitment shown with benefits on both sides as Volleyball by our players and volunteers we have little England has agreed to part-fund a CommunityOur under-16 boys team are national Development Coach for our area. This came time left over to run many fundraising events.champions, two other junior teams are ranked from much hard work and planning.second in the country, while two others are in We do hold a few but it isn’t easy to askthe top four. Volunteers – My last article highlighted the people for money when there are so many worthwhile causes in the world. assistance Wessex Volleyball Club has hadThe Wessex women’s team play in the Super8s, the top national league division, our men from experts such as Paul Rees on the strengthare in Division One and our junior men won the Sponsorship – The club have sent out many and conditioning side and BournemouthSouth West Adult League. sponsorship letters in the past couple of years, University on the psychology side. This has and this season we have contacted 70 proved invaluable to the teams involved.Wessex also had many local and regional agencies. Despite being one of the top English However, this would not have been possible ifsuccesses as well, while individual players volleyball clubs with a group of our volunteers the players and parents had had to pay forwere selected for England. running the biggest beach tournament of the these services on top of the other costs.The club now has a really good set up with a summer with more than 300 teams competing, On the volleyball side, all our club coachesgreat set of volunteers. However, all this has we have not been able to secure any cash and managers are unpaid, giving hours of theirbeen achieved at a cost – a huge financial sponsorship deal. time each week.cost to the players and parents. Links – This is one area where we have been As we look to the beach season and start toThese are difficult times and unfortunately we able to make progress. Links have been formed plan for September when the indoor seasoncannot make cutbacks because our main costs with the University and local schools which restarts, we have grounds for optimism withare the essential ones – court hire, fuel, have allowed us an occasional cheap court, new players interested in joining us and moreaccommodation etc, all of which have free use of a gym and meeting room, and the juniors playing.gone up. cheaper use of minibuses. We provideIt is ironic that the more successful you are the coaching sessions in return. To reduce their costs in this difficult economicmore the expenditure you incur. time, we will continue to try to establish links, Grants – There seem to be a lot out there but it apply for grants, seek sponsorship and – likeVolleyball has never been a sport which only the takes time to research which ones may be thousands of clubs like ours – rely on volunteerswealthy can afford to play, and there is no wish applicable. Having decided this, there will then to give athletes the opportunity to play theto become one. But how do we prevent this? be a lot of work involved in the application. sport they love at as little cost as possible.
    • 32 COACHING EDGE |INFLUENCING THE PITCH|POWER ANDINFLUENCETactics, speed, stamina and strength all play a huge role in preparation, and getting themright enhances a coach’s armoury in pursuit of success. But sometimes, and its often illustratedat the top level, the ability to influence other environmental factors can also hold sway, asDavid Bloomfield reveals.Stoke City’s Rory Delap launches a longthrow, one of his team’s best attackingweapons and one opponents try to counter
    • |INFLUENCING THE PITCH| COACHING EDGE 33 I t is impossible to say where the The examples in football of managers and coaches trying to catch out the unwary responsibility or the influence of are legion. the coach ends, he certainly holds sway over the tactics and When Brian Clough ruled the roost at Nottingham Forest, the away dug-out was personnel his team employs, but in an strategically placed some distance from the age where the line between winning and half-way line, affording a very imperfect view of losing has become a fine thread, each the match, while Liverpool under Bill Shankly and every angle where an advantage is were renowned for providing pre-match balls to be had needs to be investigated. that bore little or no quality resemblance to the ball that would be used at three o’clock. The simple fact is that if you are not looking at the game in its context and trying to influence For a period of time in the early 1990s, the environment in which the match is being Cambridge United enjoyed relative success contested, your opponent almost certainly will and came within a whisker of promotion to the be, and without a ball being kicked your side top-flight under John Beck. will be at a disadvantage. Of paramount importance is an analysis of your opponents. What are their strengths and ‘The examples in weaknesses and how can you neutralise one and capitalise on the other? Knowledge of football of your opponents is a key factor at any level of sport. managers and As a Sunday morning football manager, in coaches trying to advance of an important cup-tie, I found out catch out the where our opponents were playing the week before and duly turned up with notebook in unwary are legion.’ hand. I was then subsequently able to allocate my defenders to best nullify their forwards and pinpoint their defensive shortcomings. His side favoured a long ball approach where the ball would be swiftly delivered from Come the day of the match, our opponents the back into space behind the opposition’s were genuinely shocked to come across me defence. The problem was that the ball often again and there is no doubt that they felt a went off for a goal kick before his forwards level of unease, albeit one that is difficult had managed to latch onto it. The solution? to quantify. The groundsman was instructed to allow the The level of analysis and attention to detail grass in the four corners to grow in order to at Premier League level is astonishing. inhibit the ball’s propensity to roll! Every match is analysed from every One of the most successful attempts by a imaginable angle. coach to alter the context in which a match Peter Shreeves, the former Spurs manager, who was played was in 1987 when the Rangers acts as a match delegate, recently witnessed manager Graeme Souness reduced the width Chelsea’s assistant manager Ray Wilkins of the Ibrox pitch for a European Cup tie. discussing with the match referee Steve Bennett, In the first leg against Dynamo Kiev the in precise detail, what his team was able to do Ukrainian flank players had had a field day in to counter the long throws of Stoke City’s a 1–0 victory. In the return, on a pitch whose Rory Delap. width had been reduced to within a whisker of He said: ‘The discussion took place one the minimum requirements, Rangers overcame hour before kick-off as the team sheets the deficit and progressed to the next round. were delivered to the match officials’ The old ‘same for both sides’ argument can be changing room. called into service by those wishing to denounce the key role the width of the pitch© Steven Paston/Action Images Limited ‘Eventually it was determined that a Chelsea player could stand no closer than three metres played in the match, but interestingly there is from Delap, and that he couldn’t jump until the statistical evidence that Arsene Wenger’s ball had left the Stoke player’s hands. Arsenal score more goals on the larger Premier League pitches. And if ever there was a side ‘When news of these deliberations reached the that played an expansive game where Stoke manager Tony Pulis, he in turn sought possession is kept in the sure expectation that clarification and confirmation that this was how spaces and gaps will open in the opposition’s the fixture was going to be officiated.’ defence, it is Wenger’s Gunners.
    • 34 COACHING EDGE |INFLUENCING THE PITCH|When Arsenal moved from Highbury to theEmirates they increased the size of the playingsurface from one of the smallest to the largest.Indeed, but for the size of the pitch, Highburywould have been a venue for the 1966 WorldCup and Euro ‘96.Once upon a time the ballboys at a matchwere youngsters who, in exchange for theirservices, were rewarded with free admission.Shreeves has noticed that even this practice hashad a makeover: ‘Nowadays I have seentraditional ballboys replaced by youngfootballers on the staff and when their team hasthe throw-in the ball is swiftly returned. Even theballboys are athletes!’Shreeves himself wasn’t averse to calling uponthe services of the ballboys: ‘When I was atSpurs and we were playing Real Madrid at The wide expanses of Arsenal’sWhite Hart Lane I got all the ballboys together Emirates Stadium suit theirand asked if any of them supported Real. Ididn’t get a reply, but all hands went up when I football styleasked if we had any Spurs supporters.‘“OK then”, I said, “when we have a throw let’s all-white outfits Liverpool arrived in at Wembley write a sufficient number of words to fill thesee the ball back with a Spurs player in for the 1996 FA Cup Final. Fine for a garden space their editor has allocated.double-quick time, and when it’s a Real throw party, but they were out of step with the tradition of Liverpool FC. Needless to say they The late Sir Bobby Robson almost neverlet’s not break our backs!” I don’t class this as were blown out of the water by Manchester failed to answer a question from the media,cheating...just that when you are the home United come kick-off. however banal, repetitive, rude or ignorant theteam you have a chance to set the scene.’ questioner. He may have lost some battles Many coaches can look at some of the above along the way, but over time he mostOne of the factors behind the growth of examples and identify with them. And if you are certainly won the war with his polite andanalysis of all sorts in sport, apart from the lucky enough to be at the top level and subject gentlemanly stance.sheer ease with which statistical data can begathered and transmitted, is the need of the to media scrutiny, there’s more. Many times a manager’s programme notescoach to avoid a situation whereby a player have riled their opposite number. Patronisingcan retort, in the post-match blame game, that If your team is involved in a match that is the statements or over-confident remarks will behe simply wasn’t advised that ‘player X’ had a subject of press attention, the best rule of thumb pinned up in the other team’s dressing roomlong throw, cuts inside, stands in front of the is to play it straight, but to ensure that you avoid and act as motivation in themselves.keeper at corners, or did whatever it was that making comments that can be seen by thecaught the player unawares. opposition as being dismissive. And the simplest method of creating a feel good factor among your players? Taking aAt the top level, the day before a match a Unless you are dealing with a very sensitive new kit out of the kitbag. Players revel in tryingmeeting will be called where all those, apart issue, in which case specialist advice may be it on for the first time and can’t wait to get outfrom the players, who have a direct input into the way to go, journalists merely just want to there. That’s the way you felt, wasn’t it?the team will be invited to make contributions.This is an acknowledgement that even an THE COACH’S EDGEexperienced manager, although he makes the What do you know of the opposition, the playing surface, the equipment, thefinal decision, can glean something from those venue? Research on these areas will pay dividends.experts under him that will help him in that Clear up any issues you think may occur with the match officials before the game.decision-making process. Consult with others in the set-up. They are a good sounding board and you can’t think of everything. Make clear that you are the decision maker, but that you valueWhen Manchester United travel to an away their input.fixture, more often than not they are seen in Have you relayed all that knowledge to your players? Communicate what you know.club blazer and club tie. They look aprofessional outfit in every sense of the word. If your team arrives looking like a team, there is a good chance they will play like one too.They look like a team. The lead here is clearlycoming from Sir Alex Ferguson. Be straightforward and up front with any media requests. Don’t be afraid of the media, but don’t get carried away, your opposition might read it too!Care needs to be taken and when the players Are the opposition trying to undermine your preparation in any way? The higher thestart calling the shots alarm bells should start level of competition the more this is likely – be aware of the possibility but don’tringing. The example always mentioned is the develop paranoia.
    • |THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE FUNNY| COACHING EDGE 35 TAKE A BOW Hollywood may like the glamour of the longbow, but as Jeff Thornton discovered, there’s an army of serious coaches out there...W e may well be midway ‘And we are working very hard at getting ‘To go through the ranks as a coach does take youngsters involved either in school or as a lot of commitment. With the portfolios through a summer of after-school activities.’ needed to maintain the qualifications a sport, and when significant investment – not least in time – is someone mentions So even though the latest Crowe version of the needed. But there are people wanting to do it.Lord’s your thoughts turn to Test match Robin Hood legend may be good for the I may sometimes suggest to someone that theycricket against Bangladesh or Pakistan, tourists in Nottinghamshire, it’s a sport already may consider coaching, but often it’s archers working hard, and with coaches keen to themselves who step forward and want to workbut for one group of sportsmen and improve our national standing. as a coach and get involved. Of course,women the famous ground will mean becoming a coach does affect your ownjust one thing...Olympic archery. ‘That’s not to say films don’t have an effect on shooting, as you give up some of your own people interested in the sport,’ admits Okin. practice time in order to coach others!’For many this will be a sport they know little ‘I believe Lord of the Rings had a significantabout, and any mental images may involve effect, a lot of people must have watched and And with sights set firmly on the OlympicMichael Praed or Russell Crowe careering thought “I’d like to do that”!’ Games, and improving the UK’s standing,through a recreation of 13th century Sherwood Okin is enthusiastic about new developments.Forest in another Robin Hood guise...or What Okin does stress is the discipline needed, ‘There’s a brand new national developmentperhaps their recollections are of A-level from archers as well as coaches. programme, where every county will have ahistory and Agincourt. ‘Discipline and safety are paramount. A good coordinator to work with the nationalBut for a large number of people, it’s a coach in this sport has to be patient, aware, development team, perhaps to help start newthriving – and very much current – sport. and know the technicality of the instruments we clubs or develop existing clubs. The aim will be are using.’ national centres of excellence.’Colin Okin, who is already well on withplanning his fifth Southern Counties Archery As Okin says, it’s a sport keen to learn, and The world has changed significantly sinceSociety (SCAS) Coaches Conference for early next year’s conference has a lot to live up to. Britain’s last Olympic individual gold medallists2011, says: ‘People perhaps don’t realise how in 1908 when Queenie Newall and William ‘Over the last four years we’ve gone from 90popular this sport is. SCAS is one of eight Dod both took first place (Dod’s sister Lottie delegates to 148 in 2010. I’m keen for moreregions making up Archery GB and we have was a sporting legend in her own right, coming than 150 next time, we’ve had someapproximately 10,000 members, and I believe second to Newall, but more famously being phenomenal speakers, and will look forthere are upwards of 60,000 members across five-time Wimbledon tennis champion, a golfer another excellent event.’the UK. and hockey player). While he’s also keen to see another full house‘Archery UK has 12 associated organisations at Lord’s in 2012...but more long bow thanincluding The English Archery Federation, the These days an Olympic-standard bow could cost £2,000, while the arrows, which may last Long Room.Army, the RAF, the Civil Service, the Post Office,Paralympics, Universities and The Royal a season, would cost £250 for a dozen. So For details on next year’s Southern CountiesToxophilites. In addition there is the Long Bow Okin admits it’s not a cheap sport, and it’s also Archery Society Coaches Conference,Society, so overall there may be about one which requires dedication from the archers planned for 5 March, email Colin Okin on:100,000 archers. and coaches. colinokin@hotmail.com
    • Everything you need toimprove your coaching m A Guide to Mentoring Sports Coaches By Bill Galvin, Revised 2005 Mentoring is a powerful tool in the development and education of sports coaches at all levels. This title focuses on how learning occurs and how, as a mentor, you might support a coach’s learning. It offers a framework for mentoring, but is not prescriptive, because every mentoring relationship is unique. The process outlined is flexible enough to fit comfortably with any mentoring programme designed by a governing body of sport or other organisation. It provides mentors with guidelines for developing a meaningful relationship with a coach, and tools that provide a focus for, and record of, that relationship. Code B23032 £9.99 Positive Behaviour Management in Sport By Nicky Fuller, Sue Jolly and Joanne Chapman, 2009 This full-colour resource will introduce you to the subject of positive behaviour management, detailing why unwanted behaviour occurs and how to deal with situations as they arise. Every group and individual is different, and managing the behaviour is a hands-on job. Use the examples within this guide to help find the best solutions to create a positive environment for young people to develop. Broken down into manageable sections, it discusses the different ways of tackling problem behaviour and how to create an environment that encourages positive behaviour. The ‘Top Tips’ sections throughout help you pick out key techniques to recognise what creates a positive coaching environment, and what actions encourage acceptable behaviour. Code B40679 £14.99For 100s of specialist coaching resources, whatever your sport, visitwww.1st4sport.com or call: 0113-201 5555 and quote CE REQUEST YOUR FREEP&P in UK Mainland CATALOGUEOrders up to £9.50, add £2.00. Orders over £9.50, add £3.50. Orders over £25.00, add £5.00. Orders over £40, add £7.50.Orders over £80, add £10.00. Orders over £110, add £12.50. NOW!P&P in Ireland, Channel Isles, Europe and the rest of the world, please add 30% of the total value of your order.