Empowering our athletes is the key at Calculated Performance, but to implement this approach the coach needs to understand the process that players go through to become empowered. To become empowered, individuals move through the following four stages.
By stage four, athletes will be playing a part in their own learning by dealing with their thinking about football and expanding their understanding of the game. As a result, this will help their ability to solve problems and make good technical and tactical decisions. They will contribute to the vision and goals of the team and of themselves, ask and answer questions, and begin to decide their own destiny.
For us it is important the athlete feels confident enough to become their own coach on the pitch.
Powerful learners are determined enough to put in the long hours of training to reach a standard of excellence. Champions are people who have put in the time and hard work, but who did so intelligently.
The coach can help by praising effort and resilience rather than talent or even ‘success’ and they can train young players to have pride in their own commitment. Players also pick up the values of a coach and make them their own. It also helps if coaches model persistence and resilience in their own work with players, creating an environment of mutual appreciation and respect for effort.
A coach is a leader, and the measure of leadership is generosity and care. A coach should be generous with time because time is what learners will need. The coach that uses time in a good way will reap enormous benefits going forward. Care is being bothered with, showing interest in, and paying attention to people. But out of all these things, showing interest in people is really important. The coach who takes time to get to know the players and what they do away from training and matches are in a better position to develop them. Through generosity and care the coach can build a picture of the person and help form a healthy working rapport, it then becomes much easier to share knowledge and know-how. As young players mature and the sense of collaboration and group effort begin to be cultivated, the coaching experience becomes more effective.
The holistic development of the player is fundamental. The quality of the athletes’ experience will depend on the beliefs, behaviours and value systems of both themselves and the coaches involved. Coaches and players should be involved in the game because they love it. They should act with honesty and respect. Play with a love for the game. Our role as coaches is to create an environment that allows for freedom so that the players feel comfortable making decisions. In that way, they can cope with responsibilities, and they can begin to take ownership of their learning.
Our philosophy is to create empowered players through a holistic approach, encouraging young people not just to be footballers, but to develop better people. It’s important to be passionate and focussed but it’s also vital to enjoy the whole experience and have fun.