Happy New Year from all of us here at Sportplan! After the holidays, it's time to get back into the swing of things. This can be a tricky period but we've got a few pointers to help you on your way! Whether you need to continue your form or start fresh with some new ideas, it's important to bring a new lease of life into the players. Make sure you're ready to go when the first fixture comes around, by following these tips.
Over the Christmas period, it's guaranteed that your players will have eaten a fair amount of food! So when they're back training, it's important that you get fitness levels back to where you left them before the break. Start off with a fitness session first up! There's no better way to blow out the cobwebs than pushing the players to the limit. You should almost treat January as a second pre-season. There will be a few groans but there are ways to get the players through it.
Aside from fitness sessions, it's essential that players have time playing the sport in training. This should include quite simple drills that are easy to understand - these don't have to be boring - there are plenty of simple and effective drills. Your players will have been away from school and likely been away from work, which means their brain power won't be at 100% when you come back. This is the reason for incorporating more straightforward training exercises!
While you're putting on simple drills and including fitness workouts, you need to make sure sessions are varied to avoid boredom. The last thing you want is players losing concentration. It's important to work on different aspects of the game, and to really focus on each aspect when it's being trained. This is helped with simple exercises, as the key points can really be planted into their minds with repetition.
Sessions need to have enjoyment. Players won't feel the full benefit of training if there are not smiles and laughs in the group. Enjoyment is so important for team cohesion. At the end of each session after the Christmas break, include some kind of match situation to let the players relax and do what they do best - play the sport.
For some of you, the season is only just starting, while for others there is still half a season to go. Setting goals is an important part of achieving success. Build up lots of smaller goals, across shorter periods of time. These time periods should be broken up into session goals, weekly goals, monthly goals. Set the players smaller, realistic and achievable goals. Small victories work wonders for morale in the team; this increase in confidence projects onto matches and should lead to wins.
It's important to create a meaningful, positive relationship with your players. This includes having complete trust in each other, which stems from you as a coach. It is vital that you instil trust and confidence in your players in a match situation - even if you are unsure on their ability - it will give the player huge belief, to improve. Likewise, a trust in you is developed, so that the players believe in your coaching ideas and are willing to train and play to the maximum for you.
There will be times throughout the season when players simply cannot be bothered to train. It's your role to keep them engaged and training well. This can be done by using positive language and being really encouraging when players complete an action, a drill or a session well. Confidence is enhanced and so is an individual's willingness to continue to improve. Confidence is vital!
In order to enhance performance, a player needs to know that they're heading in the right direction (or if they're not). This can be achieved by you as the coach talking to the player during a session or after a session and going through what they're doing well and points to work on and get better at. I'd advise just pulling players aside one by one during training and giving them a quick run-through of the positives and negatives!
We hope you have a fantastic start to the year, and we look forward to supporting you all the way!