Updated: Jan 25
The game is the ultimate feedback. Matchday is, therefore, a golden learning experience for both players and coaches. Our natural temptation is to put every moment of the first half under a microscope of investigation, believing this will support our players to make better decisions in the second half. Does it though? Here a few ways to have more impactful half times...
“We have a vision where we want a self-organised team: not just 11 players on the pitch but 11 coaches”
Who are you interacting with and when? How are you sharing information amongst the player group? What are you doing to make your message impactful and embedded? Is it always the same players speaking? How can you engage the non-engaged?
Are you connecting with certain players and coaches to capture their thoughts before further sharing these messages to the group? Less is sometimes more and the sharing of stories are anchors of behaviour and actions to support the coming periods of play.
How many times have we stood in the huddle at half time and heard the coach spend 10 minutes going on about midfield connections or attacking movements yet 2/3 of the squad are standing their not getting any feedback?
We are a little biased but Reflection MatchPlay Cards have supported coaches to bring this idea to life by creating opportunities for players to have conversations about the game, their opponents and themselves. Coaches can preselect cards for specific lines of play, allowing players to explore before bringing it together for players to share amongst their teammates.
Coach talks Vs player talk:
Arsene Wenger wouldn't say anything until the closing minutes of half time. Why? Creates opportunities for players to have conversations and notably, much of the information delivered as soon as players were off the field would often be lost and the last messages they were most likely going to stick with them for the coming 45 minutes.
Something for you to think about... would we see players behaviour differently if coaches weren't the first to speak? Players first, players last. Realistically, how much information are our players going to take in? They probably have more to share than to do a need to take onboard information.
"Deliver information in a way that attracts players attention to their future game, using their past experiences to support "
Jack Rolfe - Founder of The Coaching Lab
Saying this, if there is only one break in play like a football half time or quarter times like field hockey a core focus for us coaches has to be creating players who can adapt and recognise challenges before the coach can speak to them at these intervals. Imagine the impact and decisions you would see from your players! The outcome of your games may be very different...
Be the coach your players remember because you supported them to make decisions, create opportunities for them to lead and share amongst their friends.
Join the conversation across social media @The_CoachingLab and share how you are attacking your match day coaching, we'd love to hear. Shop the Reflection MatchPlay Card range here to #ChangeTheGame for your half times: https://www.thecoachinglab.org/product-page/reflection-matchplay-cards