As coaches, the only way we can develop players from stage to stage is if we can build on what they’ve learned. No matter if it is tactics or technical – we have to be sure before we move on. As we rush to put on our training sessions and move through our ‘session plan’, we have to be sure we’re not moving faster than our players. But, how do you know if they “get it”?
All of us have seen that look before: it’s blank with the head slightly tilted sideways. It’s a key indicator that the player might not “get it.” Or, you see a player perform almost right on the field – but not exactly. Or still, players chatting with one another and asking questions about the explanation, skill or demonstration. These may be a little bit harder to uncover that competence. And, if you see it in one player, there’s probably a good chance that others may need some further clarification.
Here are four simple tips to check in with your players to ensure they “get it” before you move on.
- Question: Probably the easiest way to see if they get it. But, also the easiest to fake on a player’s part. This is especially true at formative ages where social acceptance is critical
- Listen: How confident is the player in their response? Did you simply catch them not listening and in need of clarification?
- Observe: Can they demonstrate the topic and SHOW you they understand?
- Write: Coaching whiteboards are excellent opportunities for players & coaches to show understanding. (Hint: It’s very helpful if you don’t have one)
How do you ensure your players “get it” out on the field?