I was recently on a course that included a 4-day Strength & Conditioning component. The topic was raised about the language used by Sports Scientists. Almost every Coach agreed that they don’t want to hear a load of jargon about underloads, overloads or maximum aerobic speed they just want to know if the players are as fit as possible to play football.
As Coaches it was quite obvious we didn’t want someone coming into our football environment using language we are unfamiliar with and had any trouble understanding.
Recently I watched a training session were U8s were getting shouted at to take the ball on the half-turn constantly. Now this is language I am familiar with as I suppose is everyone reading this blog but would it be something I would expect an U8 to understand.
In the past when I have mentioned to Coaches that they might be using language that confuses younger players I inevitably end up in a debate not about using clearer language but how the kids should know the meaning of the phrases the Coach is using.
If we flip this and return to the Sports Scientists at the start of the blog. How long would a Sports Scientist be employed if they suggested to the Head Coach they weren’t going to change the language they are comfortable using but instead the Head Coach should learn to understand them.
A few seasons back I had a discussion about language used by Coaches at a meeting and both the Coaches in question were as usual saying the fault lay with the players. The players didn’t know what something meant because they don’t understand football these days like we did etc etc.
I have no idea where it came from but I said to the Coaches
‘Do you know what a ‘Sweaty Goal’ is.’
Both of them looked at me with pretty much the same expression I had when someone first spoke to me about half spaces.
‘Ask your players and I reckon every single one of them will know.’
I think one of the Coaches actually googled ‘Sweaty Goal’ right there and then and were amazed that they got an answer as they thought I was just making it up. I told them only a few weeks before with their players I did a game when a goal was worth double if it was a sweaty. It was great for working on players supporting the attack and positioning themselves to support the player on the ball.
The point is the information you give has to be understood before the players can actually use that information. If the players don’t understand then think of another way to phrase it that is clearer.
As usual would love to hear your opinion on the subject and whether you know what a ‘Sweaty Goal’ is.
Look forward to hearing from you
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Till next time