Updated: May 3
Some may consider effective decision-making skills to be a natural attribute yet in most cases with an environment that is game-like, decision rich and deliberate our players will continue to grow their decision-making skills. If we are asking players to make decisions, then as coaches we must reflect and ask ourselves; is our training actually asking players to make decisions?
"No manager in the world can absolutely tell a player that second what will happen to them, they have to make that decision... and you have to put them in a position they can make clear decisions." Arsene Wenger, 22 years Premier Lwague Manager at Arsenal FC
How often do we go into a matchday knowing exactly what the opposition will do? The question then comes back to training, how often do we give each team in training a different challenge?
Creating a valuable situation where players must identify and navigate their way through problems that the opposition throw at them. Challenge one team to identify their opposing teams' MatchPlay Card challenge before wrapping the experience together at the end with a joint team reflection or with peer to peer conversations.
Where else can we add decisions into the game? Can we subdivide the playing area into small areas with specific challenges that the game would ask us? Maximising our time on the training field with exposure to as many decisions and situations as possible. This may look like a different challenge in the attacking half or a specific challenge for a certain individual.
As we weave challenges and problems into our game design, we can 'nudge' our players into having to adapt and #ChangeTheGame, promoting players to identify the information available to make a decision and execute an action. It is important we do this by playing the game. Players are most infused with creativity when they have the feeling of play. It has hard to be creative when you are being judged!
As we increase the demand on players to make in-games, continue to maintain feedback opportunities. Players want to know that they are supported, whatever decision they make. Can this feedback be on the run so you aren't stopping the game? Imagine you have a GPS tracking system on you... If you were to review your movements after the session would they show you have moved all across the field to check in with different players and different moments of the game?
Immersing coaches and players in the rollercoaster feelings of the game to support representative training design with team and player challenges MatchPlay Cards are here to help coaches coach through games, using great questions and develop skilful decision-makers. Discover their power now: https://www.thecoachinglab.org/shop
Used by coaches in 33 countries across the globe from Rugby Australia and Arsenal FC to grassroots of every sport you can think of. Are you ready to #ChangeTheGame?