One hobby that I used to enjoy greatly before my illness ran riot, was coaching football and rugby with kids. Thanks to Lady Mackay thinking I hadn’t got enough to do at the weekend, it was time to be a part of Rory’s development and become a coach.
For anyone faced with this for the first time, you’d think ‘what happened when I was being coached?’ was a fair approach. Not for me, it wasn’t. Having played football to a decent level, with different experiences of coaching, ranging from being shouted at very loudly to some really intense physical and technical sessions, I wanted to do it right.
I was the rabbit in the headlights.
First thing I did was look at courses, media on line that could help and try to build session plans appropriate for age. I tried to make it fun for these four year olds and get them focused by play, just doing. I talked to lots of coaches and took in their ideas and really got into it. There really is an abundance of information out there, if you care to look.
The FA courses I went on for football were level 1 and the Youth award module 1, which is was the basics of the environment, as well approach to coaching youngsters specifically. It’s more comprehensive than you’d consider, with rounded development for kids, looking at physical, technical, psychological and social corners, basically it’s how kids develop in particular to their style within the corners, how to help them improve.
Let’s not forget, this is all about kids’ development and enjoyment in the game, not about personal gain or trophy hunting.
Sounds easy, right? Enter the eejit coach, we’ll call ‘Kev’. Kev doesn’t agree with all this modern Respect lark and thinks it’s about winning. Kev shouts commands at kids and berates them when they don’t do as he instructs. Kev shouts through the whole game. Kev is a bloody weapon and is not coaching one thing to kids, apart from how to take commands. Kev is there not for the kids, but he sees himself as the gift to kids if they just do what he tells them to, when he tells them.
Kev can’t help himself and is an idiot who doesn’t realise he is one. He needs help but does not know it.
At rugby this morning with Rory, I was watching u9s play and the coaching styles between the clubs was immense. Kev was alive and well on the opposition side and although he was not the full weapon, his intentions were honest, trying his best. The kids couldn’t tackle or think for themselves, constantly looking at Kev on what to do next. Kev was happy to keep shouting loudly.
On the flip side, the home side was well coached, disciplined and allowed to make their mistakes. If mistakes were repeated, a positive conversation was had to help that kid make a different decision and learn from it, which is positive. No shouting at the kids in commands, just positive reinforcement when they did something well, made a good decision and coaching them to make better decisions.
You could see the enthusiasm, motivation and focus of the home side was so much higher, which was down to coaching quality. It’s about building a development culture not simply a winning culture – two vastly different approaches.
This is the same in all walks of life. If you have a good manager who has built a learning environment, where everyone learns and is allowed to make mistakes without judgement, gets positive guidance from management, it becomes a better, happier place to work. People get a sense of achievement and self worth, results are improved.
This is maybe why my illness has hit me, as for years I worked in poor environments with poor managers who controlled instead of coached. The pressure of the environments coupled with the constant battle style of management, then it’s no wonder more people are suffering from stress related illnesses, as well as mental health issues in the workplace.
We spend a lot of time at work, we might as well enjoy it and make it a place worth being in. Just depends if you are the problem or the solution.
And for the love of all things holy, don’t be Kev.