- Continue to assess the progress of the players
- Identify how effective a session has/hasn't been
- Find areas of your coaching where you excel or could improve
- Use your reflections to evaluate and improve ahead of planning your next session
The very best coaches I see have a fantastic attention to detail and plan not only the session itself, but also the rotation of players, which players are on which teams (and for which reasons) as well as having multiple progression's and regression's lined up.
The use of reflection after session's can take many forms, whether it's taking five minutes in the car to think about the session, jot some stuff down or use an app to record some thoughts. While most of the time we get caught up talking to parents or moving on to the next session, it's important to make time for this reflection as it completes the session and allows you to build for the future.
It's All About The Players
The players are usually in the forefront of our minds as we reflect on sessions. Who did well? Who struggled? Who's going to start in which position this weekend?
One of the quotes I read recently states that the key to reflection is "learning how to take perspective". When I think about some recent session's it's easy to forget just how young some of the players I coach are. This might mean that I need to be a little more patient with the players or find new and inventive ways of changing the message so that the players have a greater understanding of what I'm asking of them. Reflecting on the players and putting things into perspective is a great starting point to continue assessing and helping them improve.
Sometimes It's About The Session
When reflecting, it's important to be critical. Critical doesn't necessarily mean bad but that you look at the merits and flaws of the last hour and a half. It might be that the players were low energy because the distances were too big for them to cover. Alternatively, they might be disengaged because the lines are too long and they're waiting around too long before their next turn. Being able to look back on the session and identify what went well as well as what didn't is a solid way to start tweaking and improving the session and how effective it's been.
But Don't Forget The Coach
While it's important to consider the players and the session itself, it's also good practice to reflect on your own performance as a coach. If you can improve your coaching ability, the trickle down affect for the players is huge. As mentioned above, it's not just about identifying the flaws, but also finding the positives that make you effective as a coach. There are some excellent guiding questions below that I was recently introduced to via an Eliademy Course by e t c Coaching Consultants (http://www.etccoachingconsultants.com):
- Where did the best learning happen?
- What learning took place?
- What strategies or tools did you use to support their learning?
- How do you know they learned?
- At what point did you know the experience was effective?
- How could learning have been enhanced?
Complete the Session Planning Cycle
As I mentioned earlier, the very best coaches are meticulous in their level of detail. The coaches that aspire to take it a step further will complete the Session Planning Cycle by reflecting on session's. This ability to think critically and evaluate the players, session and their own coaching will feed into the improvements they can make before planning an even better session for next time they step on the pitch.