Posts About ‘coaching’

How a Simple Approach to Coaching Won a World Cup for Japan

Monday, August 1st, 2011

What struck me the most about the Women’s World Cup Final Championship Game recently was a subtle yet sophisticated coaching technique that many never got the opportunity to witness or truly appreciate.

What many saw and took away from that game was an American team that dominated for long stretches, missed numerous opportunities, yet pulled ahead twice with dramatic goals.  Many also witnessed a Japanese team that never gave up, never panicked, and capitalized on the U.S. team’s mistakes.

What was not surprising was how unsophisticated the main stream press has been covering this Championship.  Most references were made to the so-called ‘choke factor’ after the US Team missed three penalty kicks, rather than a simple but effective coaching technique that was visibly shown just prior to the start of the penalty kicks.

As the two teams prepared to take those critical kicks, the US Team huddle around Head Coach Pia Sundhage, who did a fantastic job directing this team throughout the tournament, and you could see the concern on the team’s faces.  They were uptight, most likely still filled with thoughts that they twice let the game ‘get away’ from them and shouldn’t be in this situation.

On the opposing side you had a strikingly different appearance of emotions.  The Japanese Team, led by their Head Coach, Norio Sasaki, displayed a technique that was brilliant.  Sasaki was laughing, smiling, clapping his hands, demonstrating to his team that he & the team should “enjoy the moment”.  By employing that technique, Sasaki in essence was telling his team, look what we’ve done, feel the excitement of the crowd around us, this is the moment we’ve dreamed about, don’t worry about it, go out and enjoy it!

What’s often missed in coaching at all levels is the fact that sports are full of stressful moments for athletes. Rather than allowing the stress of a critical moment worry your team, and at times almost physically and mentally paralyze it, a coach should be lightening the load and actually encouraging everyone to have fun!  The US Team as a result most likely carried self-doubts in their minds, they were tight, not enjoying the moment.

The Japanese Team were free of doubt, because they were focused on the moment, you could see it on their faces, they went out to have fun.

In an earlier article this year titled “Taking Fun Seriously“,I wrote about how the world’s best Snowboarders, Skateboarders, Motocross, BMX riders, etc all mention “fun” as an integral part of their performance.  They explanation is, if there not having fun they’re not going to perform well.  When your having fun, you’re relaxed yet focused, and more apt to perform to your utmost ability.

Making Exercise Child’s Play

Tuesday, April 19th, 2011

Gulf New’s has a fantastic three-page feature on our very own Scott Lancaster and his recent efforts in the United Arab Emirates,

Scott Lancaster is a man with a mission. He plans to fight obesity among children in the UAE. How is he planning to do this? “By tricking them into playing sport and outdoor activities,” he says. As founder and president of Athletic Fitness, Inc; Trick it out Sports; and author of Fair Play: How to Make Organised Sports a Great Experience for Your Kids, Lancaster has 20 years’ experience in developing youth sports programmes in soccer and football in the USA. His innovative approach to improve youth sports is set to be introduced by Fairmont Bab Al Bahr in Abu Dhabi, through a fitness programme called ‘R U Ready’.

In an exclusive interview he tells Friday how he plans to bring a more family-friendly way of playing sports for children aged 5 to 17 to the UAE. Backed by more than 12 years’ experience with the National Football League (NFL), USA, he has charted a youth sports philosophy for Abu Dhabi schools. He says that this will redefine the world of sport for youngsters.

Be sure to click the link for the full feature and look for more from Scott, right here on Digital Dads.

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