The role of a junior coach is often taken up by the parent of a player in the team and while some have a background in the game and a solid understanding of the role, many say ‘yes’ to the role because there is no-one else. Either way, the role is always much greater than they anticipate and at some stage through their journey, they will be looking for direction, guidance and support across a myriad of situations.
The question is…..What support does the club provide once the coach is appointed to the role?
In a junior football club, there are so many roles to fill and so few doing them that the focus quickly turns the tasks associated with running the club and the coaches are often left to their own devices; only to receive support when there is a problem/concern raised. The reality is that the majority of ‘problems/concerns’ could have been avoided if there was a Club “Coach Development Program” in place.
In recent years, clubs have appointed a ‘Coaching Coordinator’ who has usually had previous experience in the role and/or the game and can offer the appropriate direction, guidance and support to the coaches as required however, I recently presented at an AFL Victoria Club Coaching Coordinator Forum and the majority in attendance said the role was too big and they actually spent limited time with their coaches at training or on game day – which is where they can provide the most value. Again, if the club has a “Coach Development Program” in place, coaches would have a strong foundation and sound resources to go back to and they would often find the answers too many of the little questions they have.
What is a Coach Development Program?
A “Coach Development Program” generally outlines the clubs coaching philosophy, guiding principles and coaching requirements such as what the role is, communication expectations, a high level understanding on how to plan for your season, what they can do to become a better coach, along with some general information on ‘teaching’. Often coaching competencies or a skills matrix is also provided for each age group.
Why have a Coach Development Program
The “Coach Development Program” is implemented to provide all potential coaches with an understanding of the requirements of the role and what the club expects, should they be appointed to the role of any particular age group. It can also provide each applicant with an understanding of the clubs expectations around topics such as Code of Conduct, Coaching Curriculum, Behavior, Accreditation requirements, beliefs on teaching V’s winning, League compliance, administration requirements, evaluation processes, monthly coaches meetings, ongoing professional development, succession planning, family nights and appointments of assistants and helpers, etc.
The advantages of a Coach Development Program
There are so many advantages and some of these include:
Implementing a Coach Development Program
I have worked with clubs that have strong coaching programs in place for their coaches, I have worked with clubs that don’t and I have assisted clubs to implement their Coach Development Program.
Whilst all clubs have their own beliefs as to what they would like to include, in my experience, there are a number of things that are a MUST when you embark on the process:
Making the decision to develop a “Coach Development Program” is the easy part – implementing and embedding it into your club culture is where the hard work begins.
One thing is for certain; the clubs that offer a “Coach Development Program” have seen the benefits and would never have it any other way.
Director – The Modern Game