Thursday, February 2, 2012


The following comes from the classic "Finding the Winning Edge" by Bill Walsh with Brian Billick and James Peterson.  It is the most thorough text book I've ever read in regards to ALL aspects of coaching.  And in the Coach Walsh tradition, it is completely detailed -- much in bullet point.  It has become an extremely rare book to find and incredibly expensive when found -- but it is an amazing read foe coaches on all levels of any sport.  Here are some thoughts from Coach Walsh in regards to teaching;

No aspect of coaching is more important than teaching.

Without properly executed fundamentals, the entire system can break down. Accordingly, you must ensure that every player gets the information and hands-on instruction that he needs to develop and refine those skills that are required for his position.

You should recognize that individuals often have distinctly different responses to the learning process. As such, you must adjust you r teaching approach and methods to account for individual differences.

Among the steps that you can take to ensure that the teaching process for the team is appropriate are the following:

1. Use a straight forward, broad-based vocabulary that allows you to communicate in very specific, descriptive terms.

2. Employ clear, concise language the ensures that your explanation to and exchanges with other individuals will be clearly understood.

3. One of your responsibilities is to generate interest in and excitement for a given matter among your players. The most effective way to accomplish such an objective is to utilize a high level of energy and show ardent enthusiasm for the subject when discussing it with your players.

4. Ensure your relation with the team has a light, relaxed side.

5. Emphasize to the group that note taking is strongly encouraged. This practice not only helps them to thoroughly recall the information that you presented, it enables them to be better prepared to connect the details of one point to another and one teaching session to another.

6. Ensure that the teaching process for a given subject accounts for those individuals who may struggle to fail to keep up with the material or the expected schedule of learning.

7. Make certain that any theory, concept or precept you initially offer to introduce a particular topic is thoroughly comprehended by your audience before you discuss more complex aspects of the subject matter.

8. Be aware of and sensitive to the limitations of a group of individuals to learn a give task or subject.

9. Employ a somewhat unpredictable presentation style.

10. Keep the length of your presentation an appropriate duration.

11. Organize and give your presentation in sequential “building blocks.”

12. Employ visual aids to illustrate a point, to add variety to your presentation, to enhance the attention span of the audience, and to place specific emphasis as intended.

13. Ensure that members of your audience have confidence in the material that you are presenting to a point where their desire to learn the material and to be better prepared to achieve their (individual or team) goals is enhanced.

14. Educate your athletes to the highest levels possible.

Keep in mind the thoughts of Sun Tzu, the renowned military strategist, in his classic work "The Art of War," who concluded that with more sophistication comes more control.  Furthermore, with sophistication occurs a visualization beyond common concepts and progress toward the path of perfection.