Sunday, October 4, 2009

In-game Coaching

Everyone on Earth knows that a coach is an educator of the game during every practice, but what about during games? From my understanding, the traditional thought process about in-game coaching is similar to that of today: we teach during practice, and let athletes demonstrate their learning during the game (using their relative success/failure as a measurement) while a coach makes the decisions.

Although this seems to be the overwhelming style of coaching I would like to offer a different perspective: coaching within the game. I can not think of a better arena to educate than the game itself and for those coaches that turn into spectators during the game, (or more importantly, allow their reserve players to become spectators) I think they are missing a huge opportunity to coach. I saw a great example of in-game coaching this Saturday when Boston College was playing Florida State in football. Florida State (and other teams) have begun putting headsets on their backup quarterback to talk with the offensive coordinator and relay the play signals onto the field rather than a sideline coach. I think this is a genius idea because it allows for communication and learning to take place in the game instead of a coach making all the decisions and hearing all of the discussion while the atheltes simply watch. Chances are, the team will need that player one day, so why not use the hour long game as another hour to coach.

In most sports, you will see the reserve players aimlessly watching the game, checking out who is in the crowd, or in and out of consciousness thinking about a party last weekend- this is wasted time! If the athletes are all there at once, why no take advantage of that and teach your reserves? Every game has a lot to teach in a little time, but one way to add an extra couple hours of practice time a week is to coach during the game. Of course, everything relies on being efficient with your time.

Thank you for reading.

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