#PhysicalLiteracy is considerable deeper than “physical” and the depth of emotional connection between athletes in a team and between any single athlete and a coach is essential for long-term success however measured.
My role as a development coach has been an awesome adventure and while I started in senior mens football management in the UK back in the mid 90’s it was the journey through my coaching in girls and womens football that made me dig deeper in to the sociology and psychology of sport.
This video was created for the female teams at Casey Comets and on the surface looks like a bit of fun for some social media campaign to market the club but the truth is considerably deeper.
Watch it once and then let me take you through the truth.
- Technically this entire video was recorded in two cuts the first lasting 3 mins 20 secs and the only reason for the cut was due to lighting (and they lost track of the lyrics)
- The video has a senior Womens Premier League (WPL) team, the reserve team and the clubs under 18’s development team so a range of players from 14 to 30 years of age
- The recorded cut was taken after ONE practice run where I moved with the camera between the groups to practice their lines
- The players were instructed that this was going to be the entire 90 minute training session when they arrived for training at 6:30pm and given the lyrics of the song at 7pm
- ALL players were left with the song, a speaker, print outs of the lyrics and the normal leadership team of each group in one changing room for 15 minutes
- They were given a demonstration on the white board in the changing room of their roles, where to be and where I would travel with the camera and discussed this as a team. I only laid out the problem
- Some players improvised on the run in how they would deliver their lines as NO instruction was given on HOW to interact with the lyrics…this was their role
Now watch the short video again and see how confident, organised and slick the recording actually runs considering it was not prepared for or practiced meaning the only actual success was based on the players, from very differing ages and abilities, worked in unity and socially taking roles and responsibilities respectfully. Also notice that the Head Coach and U18’s coach did not participate apart from being visible in the 2 min and 30 secs (I was the Senior Assistant and Reserves Coach at the time). This was solely down to the players.
What was the purpose for me deciding to do this video instead of a traditional football session?
The previous few weeks had seen some poor results and growing anxiety within the senior players which, in turn, was forcing training sessions to be strained and stressful as the collective coaches tried to fix tactical issues. While the three teams did not train together, they did share a changing room area and were visible to each other during training times and an obvious split of unity was showing.
The leadership team were under physical and psychological pressure from the Head Coach, cells of players and their supporters in the junior teams and club members. I needed to break the cycle.
The purpose of the session was singularly focused on football but not the traditional physiological or cognitive aspects but solely on the social and mental sides of the club to remind each and every player why they were at that club, who their true supporters were and how to re-set, re-focus and re-condition themselves as a team to move forward collectively for success.
Needless to say they went on to win many games thereafter and achieve the finals that season being knocked out in the semi-finals. The reserves went on to 2nd place overall in the league and the under 18’s won their league.
Occasionally it is ESSENTIAL to break the cycle and challenge your coaching ability to create a team especially when you are not in the luxurious position to buy a team. Coaching is holistic and if you believe you are a professional coach, you need to assess yourself outside of basic coaching book repetition.
Ironically, everyone had a great time and new friendships were created with younger players laughing and communicating on a level playing field with their idols in the seniors. It’s is astounding what a little effort can do to so many in just 90 minutes. 100% success, investment $0.00