Leadership

Know your players

As a coach you must know all your players well.

  • What are the home circumstances?
  • How is she doing in school?
  • What are her challenges in life?
  • Which are her strengths as a person?
  • Which other interests does she have outside football?
  • Which religious belief does she have, and how does that influence on her everyday life?

It is very important that you treat all persons in the team with equal respect and attention, i.e. avoiding any kind of favouritism or discrimination.

As much as every person is having the right to be respected for who they are, you must also look into the individual needs. A player who is from an economically challenged home, will less likely have breakfast at home before the game. If you can make means for her to get something to eat, do so. What you need to avoid is the special treatment, based on performance or friendship, i.e. if you buy drinks for one player, you buy drinks for all.

People don’t care how much you know,
until they know how much you care.

Rick Warren

Know yourself

To be a leader  who brings development, you need to be willing to develop yourself, and in order to do that you must continuously reflect on your own actions and reactions.

Everyone is having strengths and weaknesses; the important thing for a leader is to:

  • Be clear about your own motives. What drives you?
  • Identify your weaknesses and find strategies to improve.
  • Surround yourself with people that are complementing you.
  • Find inspiration from great leaders, both locally and globally.
As a leader you are on a lifelong journey of self exploration. As long as you have the willingness to strive forward, you will be able to inspire others,  and lead them towards development.

Creating a conducive environment for learning

In order for a person to learn, she must feel safe. There are different steps to take to create a conducive environment for learning:

  1. Ensure all group members are treating each others with respect.
    1. Do not at any point allow bullying or discrimination
    2. It is ok to joke together with, but not make fun of, a person.
  1. As a leader, make sure
    1. You treat all group members with equal respect, ie independent on ability, position, popularity and background.
    2. Never expose the group members flaws or weaknesses, i.e. don’t put a player who is struggling to read, to read in front of the group.
    3. You take responsibility for all group members to understand instructions. You can demand focus, but never demand understanding. Be aware of the learning style of each individual.
    4. Use an approach of involvement. Engage the players in discussions on goals, code of conduct and problem solving.
  1. The better the members of the group know each others, the safer they will feel in the group. Arrange activities for the group to get to know each others outside the field of play, and find ways for each member to utilize her skills. For example, there might be a player:
    1. that is very good in maths. Call the team early for practice so that she can assist others.
    2. that is very organized. Let her assist with the team management.
    3. that is a very good singer. Give her the task of being the lead singer of the team.
    4. that is a good tactician. Give her the task to lead team discussions.
    5. that loves baking. Give her the task to bake for the team ahead of a tournament or game.

Building self-esteem and self confidence

Salutary factors

Intra personal

  • High social capacity
  • Positive self confidence
  • Independency
  • Successful coping
  • Intelligence & creativity
  • Special interests & hobbies
  • Inner control
  • High activity & energy
  • Optimism & belief in a positive future

Inter personal

  • Help others
  • Significant other
  • Trusting & intimate relations
  • Clear boundaries & subsystems
  • Positive parent-child relationship
  • Clear frames in the home
  • Shared values amongst generations

Positive reinforcement

All persons strive from positive reinforcement, but only if it is balanced and honest.

Recognize that the effect of positive feedback is devalued if it is unbalanced. Take the example of a player taking a shot far off target, but you as the coach still shout “good shot”. Obviously, it wasn’t a good shot, and your input as a coach is automatically devalued. Rather shout “good decision to take the shot”, as the decision was good, whereas the execution was poor.

As a coach you need to know your players’ individually, and help them grow from the level where they are at; the player in your team that is dominant and ahead in her development, will not benefit from getting praise for doing basic things right, at the same time as the beginner will succumb if you have the too high expectations on her and therefor never give her positive feedback.

Be aware of the learning zones, and give positive feedback when the player is putting all her effort in to the task.

Danger of negative reinforcement

The only time negative feedback is in place is when a player is showing ill discipline and breaking the team’s code of conduct. In all other instances positive reinforcement is to prefer, by many reasons:

  1. The brain doesn’t understand the word “not”, without processing. If you are told not to think of a pink elephant with green dots, the first thing you will think of is obviously the mentioned elephant.
  2. Negative reinforcement is making people insecure, and many times players choose simple solutions (far below their ability), to stay safe from being embarrassed and insulted by the coach shouting negatively to them. Take the example above, with the player taking a shot far off target. If the coach shouts “Why are you taking such a crappy shot??”, the player will become insecure, start to process the “why” and is more likely to be tense next time the opportunity for finishing is coming up.

Building self-esteem

Is there a difference between self-esteem and self-confidence? Yes!

Self-esteem is based on who you are, and self-confidence on how you perform tasks.

To build self-esteem, you need focus on the intention and effort a person is putting into things, rather than the outcome. Let your players know how much you appreciate their; effort, helpfulness, openness and respect to others, bravery to stand up for themselves or others.

In order to build a person’s self-esteem, it will be of good help to understand how to implement salutary factors in your everyday leadership.

Video about Jason Mcelwain. A great example of a coach that builds the self-esteem!

Building self confidence

Is there a difference between self-esteem and self-confidence? Yes!

Self-esteem is based on who you are, and self-confidence on the ability to perform tasks.

To build self-confidence, you need to adjust the level of the challenge for each individual – to gain new abilities is building the confidence!

Remember that; as important as it is to set your players up for challenges, you must make sure you have realistic expectations and that you set up for a high success rate.

In practice you need to follow the principle of progression, where you start simple and increase the difficulty throughout the session; that will allow the players to gain new abilities and build their confidence.

In games you need to have realistic expectations, and focus your coaching on details where you believe the team and individuals can and will succeed. If you have been working on passing during the week, and you play against a very strong team during the weekend, a goal for the game can be to; as many times as possible during the game play five passes in a row, without losing possession. If that is the focus the players can have a feeling of success, even if they might lose the game with a big score. If you instead are the coach of a strong team that is going to play against a weaker team, your goal can be to primarily attack from build-up attack, where you want to score after players from  all departments being involved.

Clear framework

For a person to feel free she needs to know both what is expected from her, and what she can expect from others.

A very good way to create a good learning environment, is to set up a code of conduct

The code of conduct must include:

  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Procedures of the team

The code of conduct must answer to

  • What is expected from me as an individual
  • What can I expect from my team mates and my coach
  • What are the consequences of breaking the code of conduct, for example:

A bookable offence in practice, leads to 5 minutes outside the field of play

A sending off offence in practice, leads to suspension from the practice, and the practice after.

For the code of conduct to be efficient, it must be produced in discussion with the players. If they are involved in the process, they will also make sure to keep the team mates in line with it.

Involvement

In order for the players to take responsibility, they need to receive information on time, and get involved in discussions.

By involving players in discussions, they get the chance to influence their circumstances. The sense of control and ownership, will lead to a more efficient group.

One of the most important life skills sports can teach is to build positive, strong and trusting relationships, the belief in the own abilities and the insight that we can do more together.

Realistic goals and expectations

For a person to thrive we must have positive and realistic expectations on her.

When it comes to football coaching specifically you want the player to be inspired by the expectation, rather than tense from it.

Today you must score at least three goals! Today I want you to be brave and go for goals every time you have the chance!
Today’s game is super important as it is deciding the league. We have to win! It’s very inspiring to play against such a strong team as today’s opponents. We will get the chance to gauge ourselves, and the most important thing is that we are enjoying the moment and that we are playing as a team.

If you play against a very strong opponent, with your team being weak, you must still communicate positive expectations. It is important to realize the difference between result goals and performance goals.

Result goals Performance goals
The goal today is to win In today’s game the goal is to, as many times as possible, play 5 passes in a row, without losing possession.
The goal today is to not allow the opponents to score more than 3 goals. In today’s game the goal is to develop our attacking game through starting all balls from the goalkeeper to our full backs, and use build up attacks.
The goal today is to not concede in the first 15 min. In today’s game we will focus on pressing high in defence,

A performance goal you can always achieve, provided you know your team’s ability. A result goal is depending much on the opponent, and outer circumstances.

The benefit of the performance goal is that you can link it to what you have been working on during the past week in practice, which will be very motivating for the players.

Creating a conducive environment for learning

In order for a person to learn, she must feel safe. There are different steps to take to create a conducive environment for learning:

  1. Ensure all group members are treating each others with respect.
    1. Do not at any point allow bullying or discrimination
    2. It is ok to joke together with, but not make fun of, a person.
  1. As a leader, make sure
    1. You treat all group members with equal respect, ie independent on ability, position, popularity and background.
    2. Never expose the group members flaws or weaknesses, i.e. don’t put a player who is struggling to read, to read in front of the group.
    3. You take responsibility for all group members to understand instructions. You can demand focus, but never demand understanding. Be aware of the learning style of each individual.
    4. Use an approach of involvement. Engage the players in discussions on goals, code of conduct and problem solving.
  1. The better the members of the group know each others, the safer they will feel in the group. Arrange activities for the group to get to know each others outside the field of play, and find ways for each member to utilize her skills. For example, there might be a player:
    1. that is very good in maths. Call the team early for practice so that she can assist others.
    2. that is very organized. Let her assist with the team management.
    3. that is a very good singer. Give her the task of being the lead singer of the team.
    4. that is a good tactician. Give her the task to lead team discussions.
    5. that loves baking. Give her the task to bake for the team ahead of a tournament or game.

Building self-esteem and self confidence

Salutary factors

Intra personal

  • High social capacity
  • Positive self confidence
  • Independency
  • Successful coping
  • Intelligence & creativity
  • Special interests & hobbies
  • Inner control
  • High activity & energy
  • Optimism & belief in a positive future

Inter personal

  • Help others
  • Significant other
  • Trusting & intimate relations
  • Clear boundaries & subsystems
  • Positive parent-child relationship
  • Clear frames in the home
  • Shared values amongst generations

Positive reinforcement

All persons strive from positive reinforcement, but only if it is balanced and honest.

Recognize that the effect of positive feedback is devalued if it is unbalanced. Take the example of a player taking a shot far off target, but you as the coach still shout “good shot”. Obviously, it wasn’t a good shot, and your input as a coach is automatically devalued. Rather shout “good decision to take the shot”, as the decision was good, whereas the execution was poor.

As a coach you need to know your players’ individually, and help them grow from the level where they are at; the player in your team that is dominant and ahead in her development, will not benefit from getting praise for doing basic things right, at the same time as the beginner will succumb if you have the too high expectations on her and therefor never give her positive feedback.

Be aware of the learning zones, and give positive feedback when the player is putting all her effort in to the task.

Danger of negative reinforcement

The only time negative feedback is in place is when a player is showing ill discipline and breaking the team’s code of conduct. In all other instances positive reinforcement is to prefer, by many reasons:

  1. The brain doesn’t understand the word “not”, without processing. If you are told not to think of a pink elephant with green dots, the first thing you will think of is obviously the mentioned elephant.
  2. Negative reinforcement is making people insecure, and many times players choose simple solutions (far below their ability), to stay safe from being embarrassed and insulted by the coach shouting negatively to them. Take the example above, with the player taking a shot far off target. If the coach shouts “Why are you taking such a crappy shot??”, the player will become insecure, start to process the “why” and is more likely to be tense next time the opportunity for finishing is coming up.

Building self-esteem

Is there a difference between self-esteem and self-confidence? Yes!

Self-esteem is based on who you are, and self-confidence on how you perform tasks.

To build self-esteem, you need focus on the intention and effort a person is putting into things, rather than the outcome. Let your players know how much you appreciate their; effort, helpfulness, openness and respect to others, bravery to stand up for themselves or others.

In order to build a person’s self-esteem, it will be of good help to understand how to implement salutary factors in your everyday leadership.

Video about Jason Mcelwain. A great example of a coach that builds the self-esteem!

Building self confidence

Is there a difference between self-esteem and self-confidence? Yes!

Self-esteem is based on who you are, and self-confidence on the ability to perform tasks.

To build self-confidence, you need to adjust the level of the challenge for each individual – to gain new abilities is building the confidence!

Remember that; as important as it is to set your players up for challenges, you must make sure you have realistic expectationsand that you set up for a high success rate.

In practice you need to follow the principle of progression, where you start simple and increase the difficulty throughout the session; that will allow the players to gain new abilities and build their confidence.

In games you need to have realistic expectations, and focus your coaching on details where you believe the team and individuals can and will succeed. If you have been working on passing during the week, and you play against a very strong team during the weekend, a goal for the game can be to; as many times as possible during the game play five passes in a row, without losing possession. If that is the focus the players can have a feeling of success, even if they might lose the game with a big score. If you instead are the coach of a strong team that is going to play against a weaker team, your goal can be to primarily attack from build-up attack, where you want to score after players from  all departments being involved.

Clear framework

For a person to feel free she needs to know both what is expected from her, and what she can expect from others.

A very good way to create a good learning environment, is to set up a code of conduct

The code of conduct must include:

  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Procedures of the team

The code of conduct must answer to

  • What is expected from me as an individual
  • What can I expect from my team mates and my coach
  • What are the consequences of breaking the code of conduct, for example:

A bookable offence in practice, leads to 5 minutes outside the field of play

A sending off offence in practice, leads to suspension from the practice, and the practice after.

For the code of conduct to be efficient, it must be produced in discussion with the players. If they are involved in the process, they will also make sure to keep the team mates in line with it.

Involvement

In order for the players to take responsibility, they need to receive information on time, and get involved in discussions.

By involving players in discussions, they get the chance to influence their circumstances. The sense of control and ownership, will lead to a more efficient group.

One of the most important life skills sports can teach is to build positive, strong and trusting relationships, the belief in the own abilities and the insight that we can do more together.

Realistic goals and expectations

For a person to thrive we must have positive and realistic expectations on her.

When it comes to football coaching specifically you want the player to be inspired by the expectation, rather than tense from it.

Today you must score at least three goals! Today I want you to be brave and go for goals every time you have the chance!
Today’s game is super important as it is deciding the league. We have to win! It’s very inspiring to play against such a strong team as today’s opponents. We will get the chance to gauge ourselves, and the most important thing is that we are enjoying the moment and that we are playing as a team.

If you play against a very strong opponent, with your team being weak, you must still communicate positive expectations. It is important to realize the difference between result goals and performance goals.

Result goals Performance goals
The goal today is to win In today’s game the goal is to, as many times as possible, play 5 passes in a row, without losing possession.
The goal today is to not allow the opponents to score more than 3 goals. In today’s game the goal is to develop our attacking game through starting all balls from the goalkeeper to our full backs, and use build up attacks.
The goal today is to not concede in the first 15 min. In today’s game we will focus on pressing high in defence,

A performance goal you can always achieve, provided you know your team’s ability. A result goal is depending much on the opponent, and outer circumstances.

The benefit of the performance goal is that you can link it to what you have been working on during the past week in practice, which will be very motivating for the players.

Know your players

As a coach you must know all your players well.

  • What are the home circumstances?
  • How is she doing in school?
  • What are her challenges in life?
  • Which are her strengths as a person?
  • Which other interests does she have outside football?
  • Which religious belief does she have, and how does that influence on her everyday life?

It is very important that you treat all persons in the team with equal respect and attention, i.e. avoiding any kind of favouritism or discrimination.

As much as every person is having the right to be respected for who they are, you must also look into the individual needs. A player who is from an economically challenged home, will less likely have breakfast at home before the game. If you can make means for her to get something to eat, do so. What you need to avoid is the special treatment, based on performance or friendship, i.e. if you buy drinks for one player, you buy drinks for all.

A person knows how much you care
before they care how much you know