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A reflection, on reflection

01 Jun A reflection, on reflection

Former De La Salle Senior Coach and current Box Hill Senior Assistant Coach Dave Madigan has written the aricle below; talking about the importance of reviewing your coaching performance and having a mentor.  An enlightening read….

The siren goes and you are soon either singing the club song or scratching your head for something to fire the players back up for next week.  Then it’s clean up the rooms, best players for league votes, an ‘after match’ with the parents and either to get dinner ready and sort yourself out for the start of the working week or off to watch your daughters netball game, beforehand.

Through conversation with spectators, parents and your game review you will consider and analyse the performance of your players and the game plan they carried out.  But, when is the time that you review your own performance.  For the part time, parent coach there is so much to do just to get your team on the park each week.  Time to consider and coach yourself is limited.

Real reflection has to be more than checking the scores online when you get home and trying to remember if you missed a match up or said something silly.  It has to be balanced, objectives based, reasoned and done away from the ‘head space’ of match day.  But preparing for next week’s game more often than not gets the lion share of your attention.  Coming up with the criteria is hard enough but to whom do you compare analysis and with whom do you discuss it with.

Imagine if instead of filming the game, you filmed yourself and then sat back later and watched.  You will have seen the cut away shots of AFL coaches in ‘the box’; the head rubbing, phone yelling, water bottle pointing and occasionally smiling coach.  Timing is everything and the best shots are when disaster has struck.  What would we see from you?

Recently Box Hill Senior Coach, Damian Carroll, spent a week miked up and on camera as he took training, meetings, one on ones and coached from the box.  This was all for the purpose of review and improvement.  Nothing was spared and everything was open for discussion and review.

How was his body language during the discussion with a player to be omitted?

Did he delegate to his assistants well?

What were the players at the back of the huddle doing when he was in front addressing them?

Educating, listening, directing, and resolving…….all the things that coaches do.

At Box Hill an observer often sits in the coach’s box during matches.  Along with scribing coaching points for Damian, she watches the interaction in the box.  Notes are taken on noise level, the nature of discussion, umpiring, barracking, and commentating.  All things that coaches get caught up in….. it is a passionate game.  Feedback is given, awareness raised and hopefully a better understanding of how another sees us when we are in the moment. 

As a senior coach at De La Salle I had some people close to me that acted as mentors.  Nothing formal, just an understanding; they would ask questions about what happened on match day on my side of the white line.  “Did you realise …….?  Why did you……?  You seemed easily frustrated today…”  Having a mentor is fantastic if you can get one.  It can also be about them listening to….especially when you feel like your players are not.

The bottom line is that at some point your coaching should also be about you and a coach should not be an island.  Self reflection should be done formally or informally, structured or unstructured, every game or every month.  It can help you remind yourself of the things you want to bring to the role, the things you are doing well and those where improvement can still come. 

Having a mentor to assist you with that reflection is worthwhile investigating.  It doesn’t need to be the smartest football brain you know.  It just needs to be someone you can hear from and someone that knows what you want your coaching to look like.

You can become a better coach!

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