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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.

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.

Football Managers Setting Records for Worst Performance Ever

Often discussing the great and the brilliant in the industry, it would only be a balanced approach to take a glimpse at the opposite end of the stick as well. Knowing that Premier League is notorious for being very difficult to manage, who are the top five performers delivering the worst results in the history of Premier League management?

Ian Holloway at Crystal Palace During 2013

Holloway had the reigns of Crystal Palace in his hand for the 2013/14 season. This was during a time when they were experiencing difficulty in the top division, straight after winning promotion from the Championship. Under his guidance they have played eight games of which they only managed to win one, giving them an average of 0.38 points per game. This resulted in Holloway being fired, and it proofed to be an excellent decision for the team, moving up into 11th place afterwards with 45 points to their name.

2012, the Year of Terry Connor at the Wolves

Terry Connor truly has a reputation for being very nice, but he struggled severely in Premier League. Connor took over from Mick McCarthy. Unfortunately, the team was unable to win any games of their 13 played. Four draws brought in enough points for a 0.31 average on points per game. The Wolves ended up with a mere 25 points at the end of the season, and they moved back down to Championship, while Connor moved back into a more comfortable position of assistant manager.

Double Whammy for Mick McCarthy at Sunderland

McCarthy did it twice for Premier League at Sunderland. Once during 2003 and then again as manager during the 2005/06 season. From 37 games Sunderland managed to win two. Leaving them with a total score of 0.27 points per game. Thus they ended up at the bottom of the list with only 15 points achieved.

Derby 2007/08 season under Paul Jewell

Jewell took over a losing Derby team from Billy Davies, and he too was unsuccessful in bringing the team around again. He had his challenge cut out for him since keeping a promoted side in the League is a daunting task. During the season Derby did manage to set up a record, but it was for the lowest number of points at the end of a season ever. Not the kind of history any manager is hoping for. Derby played 24 games, lost 19 and had drawn on 5. A total of 0.21 points per game.

Crystal Palace Did It Again in 2017 with Frank de Boer

De Boer is famous for being the only manager in Premier League not to have scored a single point during the season. De Boer had grand plans when starting and wanted to get a new style of playing in the Crystal Palace team, but they were just only not up to it, and it led to great misery. They played four games and lost them all. His stay was short-lived, and he was fired relatively soon without ever earning any points in English management.

A Short List of the Toughest Sports in the World

Curiosity or for bragging rights, it is good to know which sports are considered as the most challenging and brutal in the world. If compared in endurance, agility, skill, speed, physicality and strength, which ones will rise to the top as the toughest? Here are the top five.

At Number Five – Ice Hockey

Firstly note that this rating is given without considering the fighting, which is a regular feature on the ice. Speed and physicality are the highest-ranking attributes for this sport. It requires a good share of endurance to chase a puck with a stick for sixty minutes on ice. Dribbling a ball with a stick at high speed demands high levels of skill too.

At Number Four – Rugby

Rugby can sometimes appear like a bunch of thugs in a brawl. Probably also the reason for rugby not having any superstars flashing their fame, for the rugby field is most likely the place where you will get knocked down for being flashy. Brutal in many ways, requiring you to run through a wall of defence much rather than going around it. It is a high impact, physically demanding 80 minutes of running around requiring endurance and strength.

At Number Three – Boxing

This one is so straight forward; it is hard to find the proper words on expanding on it even more. Except for the high impact factor, the primary physical challenge, speed, endurance and strength which it requires, it also asks for mental toughness. Whenever any boxer gets into a ring, they know pain is an undeniable factor, and they are bound to get hurt. Then they still get on with it and delivering their best.

At Number Two – Aussie Rules

Rating on a global scale of sports played internationally, yet unless you live in Australia, you might not know what it is. Also referred to as footy by the natives. This game is played with a football-like ball on an oval field, and teams need to score by getting the ball through the posts on opposing ends of the area. This can be done either by punching or kicking the ball. It sounds easy, but the endurance required is massive, and the physicality involved is challenging.

At Number One – Water Polo

With the action happening under the surface, this Olympic sport is easy to miss out on as being the toughest. Still, it requires much of the same act of any handball played on solid ground; it only happens in the water. You can expect a lot of grabbing, kicking and other sly moves which require much physicality. The games require strength and speed, and the fact that players aren’t allowed to come in contact with the bottom of the pool is increasing the endurance requirement even further. Making this sport, mainly accessible in eastern European countries, the toughest competition in the world.

Coaching Resilience and How to Improve It

Resilience is as essential in life as it is on the sports field. Sometimes things don’t work out as planned, and then when life hits hard, you still need to have the resilience to stand up and fight back. This is a common scenario during any sports event. When one competitor or team is having an overhand above another, the ability to get up in the face of possible defeat is a skill which comes naturally for some and needs to be coached to others. Following are some advice from Olympic Gold medallists on how you can coach your athletes into being resilient in the face of defeat.

Personal Development is Key

It is essential to instil the concept with your athletes that it is vital that they compare their performance against their own. Comparing your achievement with those of others can be an unnecessary cause of strain and anxiety. These can hinder athletes from delivering their best results. In the end, it is about competing against yourself, improving your skills, techniques and performance and developing yourself into the athlete you want to be. As a coach, you want to do the same and compare an athlete’s performance only against their own and not that of others.

Handle Setback as Opportunities to Create Growth

Setbacks will happen. It is needed to happen. Without delays, you will have no reason to improve. It can be easy if delays are a regular occurrence, to get stuck in a negative place of being mentally defeated. Every setback can be analysed and be transformed as a learning curve. It is your responsibility as a coach to set the example of this during team talks.

Know Why You Want to Win

Determination is built from a clear vantage point on the end desire. The better your understanding is of why you want to win, the more attractive winning seems, and the higher the desire to win grows. As a coach, you must ensure that your team is convinced of why they want to win. They need to be able to experience a personal hunger and desire for achieving success to get up from a wrong position and march forward to be triumphant.

Creating Positivity

Sometimes a coach can find himself in a place of misery, stuck with a team who are not motivated at all. Every practice session is experienced as some form of obligatory punishment, and the entire course is riddled with negativity. A coach needs to be clear on the fact that coaching this team has been a choice made. This isn’t an obligation, and you had an opportunity to be here or not. The same goes for your athletes. They must remember that they chose to do their best and to deliver their best efforts. Always keeping in mind that what you are doing has been a choice that gives an improved sense of control over your life. This leads to a much more positive and productive outcome in the end.

Women Coaching in NBA

Over time female coaches in the NBA became a more familiar face in a male-dominated world. A few women have, however, shown their value by contributing to their teams and leading them to greatness. We will explore some of these women who were the first to break through the male-dominated barriers.

Nancy Lieberman

The first woman to set a new trend when hired in 2009 as head coach of NBA Development Team, Texas Legends. Currently, Lieberman also called “Lady Magic” is an assistant coach to the Sacramento Kings and she is a head coach to the BIG3’s Power, leading them to a 2018 BIG3 Championship. Coming from a career as a professional basketball player and from a coaching position in the Women’s National Basketball Association, she is considered one of the most significant contributors to women’s basketball in history. When she was hired in 2009 as a coach for the Texas Legends, she was the first female coach ever hired to coach a male team on NBA level. When she became the assistant coach for the Sacramento Kings, she was the second female assistant coach ever contracted.

Natalie Nakase

2018 was the year to see a female coach hired for the LA Clippers. This is not the first milestone for her. During her playing career, she played two NWBL seasons. First for the San Jose Spiders followed by the San Diego Siege. She was the first-ever Asian-American player in the league.

Nicki Gross

Becoming the first woman coaching in D-League when hired by Iowa Energy, another NBA Development League. Currently employed by the Raptors 905 as an assistant coach and still the only female coach in D-League. Gross was a soccer player for Seton Hall and mostly a basketball fan who started as an Assistant Video Coordinator at Bakersfield Jam.

Becky Hammon

This retired Russian-American professional basketball player is the assistant coach to the San Antonio Spurs. During her playing career, she represented to San Antonio Stars and New York Liberty. She also played for the Russian National Team during the Olympics of 2008 and 2012. When the Spurs hired Hammon in 2014 as an assistant coach, she became the first full-time female assistant coach in the entire history of the NBA. This record stretched even further than the NBA since this position made Hammon the first female assistant coach in any of the four North American major professional leagues. When she was hired than in 2015 as head coach for the Spurs during their Summer League, she became the first-ever female head coach.

Jenny Boucek

Hired in 2017 by Sacramento Kings as an assistant coach and then moving to Dallas Maverick also an assistant coach in 2018. She was also the first-ever pregnant female coach, as she became a mother during the Maverick’s 2018-19 season. Thus showing that not even pregnancy would hold back a woman if she is set on achieving her goals and making her mark within a predominantly masculine industry.