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Apr 12 2017 - Coaching Better Every Season
Keeping last month’s book theme going comes a sure-fire, must read for any coach. Coaching Better Every Season by Dr. Wade Gilbert (2017) provides a year-round system for athlete development and program success.
The book is broken down into four parts – Preseason (Envision), In-Season (Enact), and End of Season (Evaluate), and Off-Season (Enhance) which guide the reader through the book and provide a link to the regular coaching schedule/process. Through each of these time periods coaches are provided with real world, practical examples used by legendary coaches, past and present.
As the indoor track and field season has recently came to a close with the end of season bringing a period of evaluation for programs utilized. It is also important to remember that a period of time away from the track, pit, circle, or mat and coaching should be part of the plan. This period away will allow the coaching battery (mental, physical, and emotional) to recharge as the busy summer season approaches. This short period of time is not an extended off season where we have weeks or months to evaluate, analyze, reflect, and plan how to enhance and envision athlete development. This two to six weeks should narrow in on focused evaluations and reflection that bridge the two seasons, reflecting on what was learned, and coming up with a few performance enhancement strategies for the outdoor season that are deemed effective and appropriate for the athlete/group (i.e. Long Term Athlete Development considerations).
When analyzing the indoor track and field season at the individual level it is easy to use objective criteria – medals, records, and personal bests. If the athlete is happy, healthy, and improving then it is hard to say that the season was not a success. However, at the group level while the same measures can be used to determine if the general physical development programs were effective subjective areas surrounding group dynamics should also be examined. How was the culture of the group? Was the group excited to come to practice and complete all requirements laid out for them? Is the group environment one where athletes communicate positively, openly, and honestly? Do they share the journey with one another where the athletes congratulate one another on completing a hard workout and support one another when they just can’t finish that hard work out? How about analyzing the coaching process? Did you arrive to practice with enough time to set up what was needed for the practice and monitor the warm up effectively? Were your instructions clear and accurate? Were you positive, motivating, and building life and sport confidence in your athletes? Evaluation should not focus on just the athlete. Self-analysis and reflection are an integral part of becoming a better coach as the book shares.
This book is a must have for any coach. It cannot be stressed enough how beneficial it can be in terms of highlighting the multifaceted nature of coaching. The topics, examples, templates, and guides are hugely beneficial for any coach. While the X’s and O’s are commonly focused on by coaches and courses there is so much behind the athlete, the coach, the program, and the culture that determines success. I would highly recommend this book for all coaches.
Additionally, Dr. Gilbert operates a Facebook page where he posts stories, videos, and examples of coaches and programs who display positive practical coaching that you can learn from.
This article is the sixth of a monthly segment called Coaching Connection.
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