Being a student of the game requires self-motivation in seeking further education in workshops, seminars, staff meetings, or coaching courses. Last summer I attended an international coaching course through Nor Cal Premier. In attendance were top coaching instructors from around the world: AFC Fiorentina (Italy), Benefica (Portugal), KNVB (Netherlands), and Motherwell FC (Scotland). This course was one of the most valuable experiences of my coaching career thus far.
Coaches from different countries shared one common opinion: build a philosophy and stick to it. Fortunately, this reinforced my belief and ignited my ambition to continue down the right path. One coach in particular, Frans Hoek, Goalkeeper Coach for Netherland’s Men’s National Team, ran a classroom lecture followed by a field session. During his lecture he discussed a variety of popular topics such as leadership, character, and professionalism, but drilled home the importance of creating a philosophy. Frans broke down part of his philosophy in a specific part of the field; Phase 1. He then led the classroom full of coaches to the field for a session on Phase 1: Building from the back.
Frans met a group of college athletes from the University of San Francisco and without knowing a single one of them, conducted his session. Within minutes all players were moving exactly where he wanted. It was absolutely amazing how quickly he was able condition their movement to demonstrate his style of play.
As a young coach eager for information and knowledge, I wrote down every detail. I then spent the next two weeks teaching the exact session with my teams. I was shocked, again, on the practice’s immediate affect. At that moment, I realized the power of mastering the teaching process within a philosophical framework.
I’ve recognized the valuable learning lessons from attending such courses, and I’m registering for another one this upcoming summer. Additionally, with the help of other staff coaches within my club, I’ve fine-tuned my coaching philosophy. This foundation enabled me to develop and coach specific exercises, which have now become a strong suit. As with mastering any task, I must continuously repeat such drills to hone my teaching skills. My goal is to sharpen every minor detail of my coaching philosophy, not only to improve as a coach to players, but as a future mentor to other coaches as well.