Author Archive: Ida Allen

Robbie Fowler’s Coaching Career Kicks Off

Middle October sees the kick-off of the Australian A-League and the former Liverpool star is keen on making his mark as head coach to Brisbane Roar. This is the opportunity which Robbie Fowler has been waiting for. Up to now his experience as a coach has been limited to coaching for a short while in Thailand at the club Muangthong United. Otherwise, he has been employed at Liverpool’s academy, lacking any other coaching experience.

Fowler the Reliable Option

Even though many are aware of the lack of an extensive coaching career behind Fowler’s name, he is still considered to be a great option to bring the ailing Australian A-League team back to former glory. He does have an excellent knowledge of the league after spending some time at North Queensland Fury as well as at Perth Glory. Thus he used the words reliable and safe to describe himself once appointed to coach in the league. This might also prove to be more than mere words in the future of Brisbane Roar who already had seen some success as Fowler assisted them into some pre-season glory when they managed to grab the Surf City Cup from Perth Glory and the Newcastle Jets.

Their style of playing and especially their manner of the attack showed much promise for the upcoming season as well as their opening game against the runner-up team of last year, Perth. Fowler was very much impressed with the results when his team won the Cup and stated that even though they can still work on many small things, they have already sorted out most of the concerns. He also mentioned that the team has many good players, and they have the character needed to take them to success during the season.

The Previous Season

Last year, Brisbane Roar ended the season in ninth place. The only club behind them on the rankings was Central Coast Mariners, the basement club. The leader on the list was Sydney FC. Sydney will be opening their season against Adelaide. Adelaide is also under new management with Gertjan Verbeek, the very experienced Dutchman at their lead. Verbeek just moved on from FC Twente. Joining Verbeek and Fowler as the newbies in the league are Erick Mombaerts, the Frenchman at Melbourne City and Marco Kurtz, the German previously managing Adelaide and now in charge of Melbourne Victory.

While the two clubs from Melbourne will face each other, Western Sydney Wanderers and the Mariners and New Zealand’s Wellington Phoenix and Western United will also meet in the opening matches taking place soon. Western United was included this year as the 11th team when the A-League was expanded to add one more group. Another edition to achieve a total of 12 units, is scheduled for next year.

Coaching at Young Ages

Being involved in the lives of children of any age in the role of a coach can be both challenging and rewarding. Coaching a team requires a significant investment of your time and energy and is always an undertaking requiring great responsibility. Yet, the rewards which these children reap during their involvement within team sports, as well as the life skills instilled in their lives are valuable often at a later stage. Kids who are involved in team sports and are being coached at a young age have access to many benefits. Let’s look more closely at some of them.

Greater Self-Esteem

Over the years, many studies have shown that when children are involved in team sports, it delivers a significant boost in their confidence and self-esteem. These are instilled through small acts that appear normal within the team like a pat on the back from a teammate, some words of praise, and so forth. The effect which such behavior has is, however, giving children the confidence to believe in themselves and their own abilities and to push themselves to greater heights.

Developing Their Social Skills

Our society is often lacking the needed social skills to communicate properly or to approach disagreements calmly. These social skills are instilled in players of team sports. They are bound to learn how to interact, to give verbal support and to behave within this social environment. Teams are great places to make friends with shared interests.

Accepting the Fact That Defeat is Part of the Game

Nobody likes a sore loser and being able to take defeat in your stride is a valuable life lesson. A lesson that is even more important is to bear frustration and learn from it to improve future behaviour. Sports give children the freedom to accept that also though we all like winning, it can’t always be the case.

Maintaining Discipline

For a team to be successful, every single member needs to be disciplined and focused on the success of the organization. When a player is out of order, he or she is disrupting the team and will not remain part of it for long. Therefore discipline is vital, not only to remain a promising team member but also as part of who you are, to be disciplined in all you do later on in life.

Becoming Part of the Unit

It is an ancient saying that the letter I don’t appear in the word team. Regardless of how old it is, it still rings true. Success comes from working together as one, from exerting yourself so that all may benefit from it, from being well-behaved and disciplined so that the entire team can achieve. Team sports show children that it doesn’t always have to be you who are standing in the limelight, sometimes you need to be in the shadows of support for the unit to excel.

Steven Hansen

For the first time in a decade, the All Blacks are not the number one rated in the world. Many experts put this down to mere numbers and still confess that the All Blacks are the most fabulous rugby team in the world. Their worst position ever on the world rankings was when they were at number 3 during 2003. Behind any successful team stands a strong and powerful coach. Since 2012 this man has been Steven Hansen for the All Blacks.

The 60-year-old coach was born in Mosgiel, which is part of Dunedin in New Zealand. His parents were Desmond and Lauriss Hansen, and they had a dairy farm. Hansen childhood days were spent on this farm in the Taieri Plain, and he went to school at the Outram Primary School and then later on to the Taieri High School and also, later on, he attended the Christchurch Boys’ High School. During this time he was playing for Canterbury at the top level a total of 21 times.

Early Coaching Career

Hansen entered into coaching at the Canterbury provincial rugby union. He was coaching there between 1996 and 2001. During his time there his team won the National Provincial Championship twice. During the same period, Hansen also assisted at the Canterbury Crusaders as assistant coach to initially Wayne Smith and then later on Robbie Deans.

Hansen moved to Wales during 2002 where he became the 9th coach to the team in 13 years. The team would perform well initially and then fold and lose their matches. This became a trend with the team, and it resulted in a lot of criticism towards Hansen. This reached a peak when for the first time in history, the team lost all their matches during the Six Nations Championship in 2003. During the World Cup the same year, the team excelled once again, and this stopped the criticism on his coaching skills.

Returning to New Zealand

In 2004, Hansen decided to step down as coach to Wales and returned to New Zealand where he became assistant coach to the All Blacks under Graham Henry. He was appointed as head coach to the team after Henry’s departure after their victory in the 2011 RWC and started 2012 off in his current position.

Under Hansen’s guidance, the New Zealand All Blacks have gone from one tremendous success to the next. Over his coaching period, they had won the Rugby Championships every year except in 2015 when they were the runners-up. They were also victorious of the 2015 Webb Ellis Cup; they were Rugby Team of the Year every year from 2012 – 2017. Hansen was also chosen as the World Rugby Coach of the Year in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016. These are only a few of the honours and accolades which the All Black managed to achieve under Hansen’s brilliant coaching skills. Hansen and his team is a success story, evident of the influence of an excellent coach.

Mickey Arthur Lands New Gig for T20

South African coach, Mickey Arthur is on his way to New Zealand to fulfil his newly landed position as coach to the Central Stags. The 51-year-old coach was out of contract since the Cricket World Cup when Pakistan didn’t renew his contract again. He wasn’t happy about the development since he did request that his contract gets extended for another two years.

During the World Cup, the team from Pakistan suffered a severe beating against India, their long-standing arch-rivals. The team managed to finish the tournament held in England with setting a record of five victories from nine games played. The Pakistani team managed to score 11 points and only based on a net run-rate, missed out on the semi-finals. Last month when the Pakistani Cricket Board announced that Arthur’s contract would not be extended, he expressed his disappointment and the hurt which he felt, in the media. Arthur felt that during his contract with the team, he always did the best he could to improve the organization and to uplift them as a whole.

Moving On To New Zealand

Arthur has been involved in coaching the South African team between 2005 and 2010. His contribution to the Proteas was vital in their achievement of being in the first position on the MRF Tyres ICC Test Team Rankings. It was also during this time which they managed to defeat England in a series once again after a drought which lasted for four decades. Arthur also had his hand at coaching the team of Australia in the past. Now he is looking forward to coaching the New Zealand team, currently the defending champions in the domestic T20, when he starts on the 1st of December. He stated that he always admired New Zealand cricket. Therefore he is looking forward to becoming part of their system. The challenge to assist the Central Stags to defend their current title is one which he is looking forward to.

The Central Districts chief executive. Pete de Wet stated that the appointment of Arthur to assist the Central Districts and especially the Central Stags to go from strength to strength is an exciting day in their cricket history. Arthur is acknowledged globally as a world-class coach. Under his guidance, the current world leaders of T20 cricket managed to obtain that leading position. It is believed that the Central Stags is already home to a group of exceedingly talented players, and now with his influence, they can only go from strength to strength. His appointment is considered to be an investment made at a brilliant time. The ICC T20 World Cup is a mere couple of months away, and with his expertise, the hope exists to see more of the players from Central Stags representing their country in Australia next year.

Great Players Don’t Make Great Coaches

It is a well-known practice in the world of professional sports to employ great players in the role of coach to professional teams. This trend is based on the belief that great players come with bundles of experience and should automatically fill the role of a great coach. This isn’t always the case.

The Role in Coaching

To a certain degree, it helps to have some experience in the game, when taking on the role of coach. It is beneficial in the sense that as a former player, you have a more excellent grasp in certain sport-specific aspects of the game, in the knowledge of tactical and technical issues. It also gives an exceptional understanding of the kind of socialization which occurs within the organization of a club or a team. Even though these are great to have, it only makes up for a tiny part of the entire role which a coach needs to fulfil. A coach is also responsible for much more in the sense of planning, constant preparations, one-on-one training and the many personal challenges which such role presents.

Different Experience Required

If being a former great player is not the be-all and end-all to being an excellent coach, then the question arises, what the contributing factors which great coaches have in common are? Often these include specific formal qualifications in sports education. Going back to Jose Mourinho as an example again. Mourinho didn’t even play 100 games during his time in the Portuguese second division, yet he is brilliant at managing one of the greatest soccer clubs globally, Manchester United. Mourinho’s background includes studies in sport science as well as the fact that he was employed as a physical education teacher; he was also a youth team coach and was involved in scouting new young players. He also filled the position of assistant coach before he became the head coach. The results of his background are reflected in his league title wins for Italy, Spain, England as well as Portugal. The main reason for this lack of much-needed experience in fields other than playing in coaches who had a brilliant playing career is because these former players haven’t had the time to gather experience in anything other than playing.

The Issues with Great Players

When team owners start to give preference to former players when they are looking to contract a new coach or manager for their teams, they are limiting themselves to a group with inadequate education and experience in much-needed fields. They also reduce the pool of possible candidates to a tiny group. Hence the best approach would much rather be to hire someone with an adequate level of experience in all the skills required to coach a team to greatness, rather than to pick someone based on their success as a player.

The Reasons Behind the All Black Success

It is always a daunting task to qualify one single team as being the best globally. There are various aspects to consider, like winning and consistency. When this topic is under discussion, the name of the New Zealand All Blacks is at the top of the list.

Statistically spoken the All Black has been performing magnificently not only in winning but also regarding consistency. Dating back as far as 1903, their average percentage on winning the games which they played in, stands on 77.09%. This is a number which they have improved on too. Taking their interest of victories over the past four years, the team delivers a 94.44% on games they have won. When a team is delivering such consistently excellent results, it is worthwhile to learn from their success. Hence following are a couple of reasons which are considered to be attributing to their immaculate history of success.

Early Beginnings

Rugby is being promoted and taken seriously from a very young age onwards. Without a doubt, often the first thing that any boy would be taught at school is how to pass and catch. Learning these skills are fundamental in their education and upbringing. During their entire career of schoolboy rugby, a tremendous amount of energy and effort is placed into improving their passing skills. Hence when they reach higher levels of play, these young players have been groomed to perfection on the fundamentals of the game.

Massive Investment Into High School Rugby

The rugby careers of players on the high school level is already a grave matter in New Zealand. New Zealand schools make a proper capital investment into the careers of students, with the top five schools in New Zealand excelling in rugby, spending more than $400 000 annually on improving their rugby programs. Their games also draw large crowds, often in numbers exceeding 7 000 spectators and it regularly gets broadcasted as well.

Moving On To Provincial and National Level

When these young players advance to more senior levels of playing, they enter this world already with the advantage of being skilled to perfection in the fundamentals of the game, in taking their sport seriously and with playing in front of large crowds. The opportunities for players at the provincial and national level are also plenty, but more so, the administration and coaching which are provided on these levels are immaculate. Therefore when players need to be picked for the national team to represent their country, they are skilled to perfection. On the federal level, most countries which they compete against are showing intervals where they had excellent coaching, but in New Zealand, they never have anything less than the best in their coaching calibre.

Parent Coach Leading a Young Team to Success

Statistics indicate that between the ages of six to 12 years, 70% of all children are involved in some sports activity. Indeed sportsfields globally come alive when school comes out. These same statistics also indicate that around 90% of any youth sport has some parental involvement in the role of coaching the team. To be a great parent coach is a daunting task. Not only do you need to guide the team to success, but you are also intrinsically involved in the development of these young personalities. Here are some guidelines to fulfil that role with success.

Be Certain About the Role Which You Need to Fulfill

Not only are you a teacher of particular skills to develop their sporting abilities, but also a creator of personalities. It is important to remember that in youth coaching, it is as essential to creating the person as their skills. Children need to experience the fun of being involved in teamwork and physical activity. What happens during these crucial years have an influence on their entire approach to various elements of life later on.

You Are Being Observed, Be A Great Rolemodel

Being involved in sports is about more than just winning. It is also an indication of your personality, your sportsmanship, how you bounce back after defeat and can you persevere during hardship. Sport does not only mean to compete with others but also with oneself to continually strive to improve who you are. As a coach, you are being observed by many young eyes, and they learn much more from your example than from your words. How you as a coach talk about the opposing team, how you talk to your team when they fail and how you behave during the heat of the moment are all vital examples to them of what is accepted in life and the norm to go about.

Distinguish the Line Between Being a Parent and A Coach

It can be challenging to stop parenting in the field and then switch back from it, at home. When your child is in your team, it is best to treat them like any other child while coaching. It is even considered best to let them refer to you as the coach while on the field, instead of seeing to you as their parent. It can be challenging for the child as well to be coached by a parent. It is effortless for other parents or team members to attribute your child’s success to nepotism, and the worst-case scenario is if that is true. Always be sure to switch role according to the environment which you are in and make sure that your child understands why.

Usually, when children are part of a team where a parent coach is used to train them, the odds are that they are involved in learning the greatness of being a good sportsman, a characteristic which will influence their level of success later on in life. Hence be sure to teach in a way that that correct outcomes are received.

Great Teams Function on Trust

Being the coach of a team, you would know the importance of trust within a team to be able to excel. Faith grows when the individual experience a fair share of psychological safety within the team environment. As a coach of a team, it remains your responsibility to ensure that actions which improve individual psychological safety are continually pursed by psychological safety is grounded in knowing that even if you make a mistake, you won’t be punished. When this kind of security is present within the team environment, individuals feel the freedom to speak their minds, to stick out their necks and to be creative. This leads to improved team performance.

Conflict should be Used to Collaborate, Not Alienate.

Regardless of how much humans love to win, we will always hate to lose even more. Hence whenever a situation arises which creates conflict within your team, it is best to find a solution where both parties can feel as if they are part of a win-win situation. Going into battle with the expectation that you both can walk away from the location as winners, is decreasing the possibility that someone would settle for the fight-or-flight approach. Collaborating a solution which will resolve the matter for all parties positively, is an excellent tool in any couching’s box of tricks.

Speak To Each Other On The Same Human Level

In a team, there are certain positions of importance. This can be based on social status, respect, autonomy and even competence. When entering a situation where confrontation needs to be resolved, it is better to promote reflecting on the fact that all team members have thoughts, feelings, hopes, dreams, and the list can continue. Don’t approach someone with the differences in a position separating you from each other, instead, contact the situation reflecting on the similarities binding you together. When a coach approaches a slacking player, the best wouldn’t be to do it from the perspective of being in a leadership role and speaking from a position of status, but much rather stick to an approach of one person, talking to another on the same level of humanity.

Prepare for Conflict

Before entering a situation where conflict is present, it is best to prepare for the likelihood of a couple of possible scenarios. People don’t always hear what was said, and actions aren’t still perceived as they were intended. Hence be prepared to get a variety of responses and know how you will go about to stick to your principles and real intent.

Stick to Curiosity and Refrain from Blaming

When someone might suspect that they will get blamed for a specific action or scenario, they are already on the attack and not open to finding a resolution to the matter at hand. Avoid sounding like you are planning to place blame on anyone and rather ask questions out of genuine curiosity. Instead of pretending that you know everything, remain open to new learning experiences.

Coaching the Houston Astros

The Houston Astros is doing noticeably well this season. Let’s explore the team behind the team creating success for Houston. When Hinch was signed as Astro manager in 2014, he became the 18th person fulfilling this role. During the four years which he has been at the Astro’s, he proved himself to be one of the best in MLB. Not only is he the man behind three appearances in playoffs, but also a World Series Championship. This was welcomed after a nine-year drought to the franchise. A franchise-record was also set during 2018 with 103 wins, making them the fifth franchise to break the 100 wins barrier in one season.

Joey Espada as the Bench Coach

In 2017 Espada joined the Astros as bench coach. This season is his 9th in the league as a coaching staff. Espada is also in charge of the infield positioning. Before the Astro’s he was involved at the Yankees as third-base coach, as well as at the Marlins for about eight years before his Yankee run.

Hitting Coaches

The Astro’s two hitting coaches are Alex Cintron and Troy Snitker. Cintron joined the Astro’s three seasons ago. Initially, he was their Spanish translator as well as advance coach and assistant coach before becoming first base coach, also involved in infield positioning. This year is his first season as hitting the coach. Cintron is also involved in dealing with all matters concerning the Spanish-speaking players of the franchise. This season is Snitker’s first season on the Astro’s coaching staff as well as in the position of coach in Major League. In the previous season, he was fulfilling the role of hitting coach at Corpus Christi, A Double-A team. This position earned him the title of Inaugural Mike Coolbaugh Memorial Coach of the Year in Texas League. This was based on his outstanding performance, the knowledge of the game, his skill for mentoring the youth and his work ethic.

Pitching Coach

Brent Strom has been fulfilling this position since 2013. This was his third time being a pitching coach in Major League. He was formerly the pitching coach for the Astros during 1996 and then, later on, joined up with the Royals. During 2018 the Astros set a Major League record with 1 687 strikeouts. This was done under the guidance of Strom.

Third Base Coach

Gary Pettis has been a third-base coach at the Astros since 2014. He is also involved as a baserunning and outfield instructor. Pettis has led the Astros to maintain the highest percentage in fielding in the AL, during the past two seasons, delivering .995 in 2018 and .989 in 2017. The Houston Astro’s also have Joshua Miller in the role as bullpen coach. This is his 13th season at the Astro’s. This is also his first coaching position in Major League. At bullpen catcher is Javier Bracamonte. Their catching coach is now in his second season at the Astro’s and is Michael Collins.

Choosing Basketball Coaching as a Career

Being a basketball coach requires much more of you than just being present during a practice session. It is indeed a physically and emotionally challenging career which considering that you have a passion for the sport, can be extremely rewarding. Let’s explore some of the most frequently asked questions when considering a career as a basketball coach.

How much do they earn?

Before choosing a career path, it is best to know whether the career will offer you a sustainable income. There are only a limited amount of very passionate and highly skilled coaches who make it to coaching NBA and earning the $11 million which Gregg Popovich is paid. Don’t expect the same kind of remuneration, at least not right away. On average a basketball coach can expect to earn in the region of $44 000 annually.

What Exactly Will the Job Require?

First and foremost, coaches are required to organize practice sessions, analyze players to determine how to help them excel individually within the team, supervise their physical training, guiding them into excelling as a unit and calculating the best game strategies. It is also more than that since you have to keep the team emotionally inspired and motivated to give their best.

You will be able to fill this position on various levels, from school level, collegiate basketball or professional level. You will also often have to be available for the team on an emotional level. It is a physically and often emotionally demanding position. Although at the high school level, this can sometimes be a part-time position, it is often considered as a full-time position too.

What Training is Required?

First, you will have to earn your Bachelor’s Degree. There are options available between a degree in physical education and training programs or more specialized with a degree focused on coach training. During these programs, you will learn how to work with athletes effectively, how game plans and strategies are developed, as well as how to develop training programs and enhance skills development within your team. Focus is also placed on injury prevention.

Although it is not a requirement, it is always helpful if you have a background of playing basketball yourself. This will help you to be a well-rounded coach. You will need to get certified. Most schools and colleges will require certification from you. This is to prove that you have proper CPR, first aid and coaching training.

Now you need to get as much experience as possible. The more knowledge you have to show, the better your chances of getting into better positions again start as an assistant coach and learn as much as you can while in the area. This is the perfect opportunity to gain some skills in a practical situation.

Once you can start coaching, it is your story to write and where you will end up, will depend on the amount of effort and focus which you put into your career. Enjoy your passion at all times, and you will excel.