I can’t remember the last time I went for a run. I mean a run were you warm up, run a distance, cool down then go home. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was over 20 years ago. I could make the time and I know all the health benefits of doing it but I don’t do it.
Strangely though I am little sore this morning because I couldn’t resist joining in on a game at training earlier this week. I did too much running and now my hips (plus various other body parts) are feeling their age plus perhaps 20 years.
This blog is about the reasons why someone who has not gone on a run in over 20 years would participate regularly in an activity that required lots of running. The answer for me is simple I enjoy playing football and don’t enjoy running as an activity on its own.
Last year I suggested to the Coaches at the club I am at that we should try to make training sessions as enjoyable as possible. My reasons being
– If the players are enjoying themselves they will behave better, learn more and want to be there.
– A player spends most of their contact time with the club at training therefore if they enjoy training they will probably enjoy being at our club.
– The vast majority of the players have paid to join our club because they enjoy playing football so surely it is our responsibility to try to make sure they continue to link football with enjoyment and not with being ‘work’.
– If the players are happy and enjoying themselves this normally makes the role of a Coach much easier.
– The players will be more likely to return each year if they have a positive, enjoyable experience.
Essentially I asked the Coaches to consider when they planned their sessions whether the players would enjoy doing the practices or games involved.
I am wondering whether any of you Coaches reading this blog have heard some of the feedback I got
“That’s terrific for the under 7 & 8s but I have got the Div 1 U15s”
“When am I expected to coach if I am trying to make it fun all the time”
“I coach a team of highly motivated 17/18 year old players and they are not going to stand for me putting on fun sessions”
I will admit I was particularly prepared for the discussions that followed because I thought the majority of experienced Coaches when planning their sessions would already consider this. I thought I was only talking to the novice Coaches apparently I wasn’t.
Interestingly it was the Coaches of the older players who thought players didn’t need to or maybe shouldn’t enjoy training.
The discussion went on long into the night.
Why is it that people regard enjoyment and learning to be separate?
We see evidence that the two are linked around us all the time. I would love to be able to draw and have had access all my life to the equipment necessary to practice drawing but I just get bored doing it. However every time I see a great pencil drawing I always think ‘I would love to be able to do that’.
We believe that players need to do thousands of hours of practice to learn the game sufficiently well to be elite but really who expects a child to put in those hours if they find a significant chunk of them unenjoyable.
I showed this 48 second clip and asked the Coaches did this sound familiar.
For the last 5/6 years of his career he gave this answer so many times and hundreds of other older professionals have too and nobody bats an eyelid.
If enjoyment is a prime motivator for players who have achieved so much then why shouldn’t we regard it as a motivator for the young players we coach to continue to participate?
As always I need to hear other Coach’s’ opinions because we all want to coach our players in the best possible manner.
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Till next time