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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

THOUGHTS ON TEACHING AND PLAYER DEVELOPMENT FROM BILL WALSH

The following comes from one of the absolute best coaching books I've every read, "Finding the Winning Edge," by Bill Walsh:

Drive the players to concentrate. Be assertive in your insistence that they focus on the task at hand.

Individualize your teaching approach to fit certain individuals, when necessary. Give extra time to those players who need it.

Be as precise as possible when teaching. Always use the system’s terminology as a common language.

Be patient, but demanding. Require your players to adhere to proper techniques at all times.

Teach the skills progressively. Adhere to a systematic methodology of teaching that allows the players to improve and enhances their level of confidence in your competence and professionalism.

Keep your finger on the pulse of the situation. Be alert to the intensity level of the players. Be sensitive to signs of those factors which can affect the learning curve. Never overlook the fundamental reality of the teaching axiom, “quality repetitions are the mother of all learning.”

Keep the meetings quality, not quantity, oriented. Use a variety of learning tools to enhance the learning environment and to help stimulate the players’ level of concentration and focus.

Demonstrate the highest level of knowledge about the subject matter being taught.

Teach the players in a professional manner. Unless you’re trying to elicit a specific emotional response from your players, refrain from screaming and demonstrative behavior. Keep in mind that such behavior seldom, if ever, enhances the learning curve particularly if the subject matter involves technical information.

Evaluate the players’ performance on a daily basis to ensure that they are progressively mastering the techniques required to perform the tasks they are assigned in an effective and efficient manner.

Rapidity is the essence of war; take advantage of the enemy’s unreadiness, make your way by unexpected routes, and attach unguarded spots.

Another teaching technique that has proven to be very effective is to have players emulate the techniques and actions of other athletes. For example, if players watch videos showing Jerry Rice run a particular pattern in a certain way, you (as the head coach) can single out and stress particular coaching points, by using Rice as the case in point.

All factors considered, players tend to respond more favorably to an actual visual representation of a particular teaching point than to tan abstract illustration of that point drawn up on a chalkboard or written up in a playbook. This learning technique is typically referred to as “modeling.”

"Win the war, then win the fight."