We are taught in school that math is objective. There is no debating it: 1 plus 1 equals 2. The problem comes when math meets the real world. Many people assume math is just as objective and give deference to any approach that uses number. But the chaos of the real world makes it difficult to rely on numbers with precision. This is the same in coaching.
About James Marshall
James Marshall is the head coach at Excelsior Athletic Development Club in England.
Entries by James Marshall
Fast players stand out in football matches. They stand out in almost every sport. The ability to outpace your opponent, with or without the ball, and to make a line break into space and receive the ball is a game winning ability. And the higher the level of competition, the faster the pace of the game, both physically and mentally. It is important then to make sure that players are prepared to run fast when needed. Whilst it is unreasonable to expect every player to be the fastest, I have an expectation that every player can be their fastest when coached well.
To paraphrase Kelvin Giles, ‘If your coach: athlete ratio is 1:25 then you are managing a crowd, not coaching.’ Some coaches can only dream of that ratio because they regularly manage groups of 40 or 50 people in a session. Coaching large groups presents unique problems. For example, individualization may seem impossible and we have to hope that everyone gets some improvement.
There are few things in coaching as rewarding as helping a young person achieve something for the first time: a forward roll, a cartwheel, leaping over a hurdle or standing up with a weight above their head. Their enthusiasm is contagious. Conversely, there are few things in coaching as difficult as coaching a group of young people whose minds and bodies are going through the turmoil of puberty and school and socialization. In this article I shall outline some of the coaching and technical ideas that I use when coaching juniors.
The term medicine ball was coined by Robert J. Roberts in 1876. He had been inspired by one of the stories in Arabian Nights where an Eastern Potentate was advised by his physician to toss a large, soft ball of herbs a certain number of times a day until ‘he did sweat.’ Movement was being recommended as medicine back in ancient times. Roberts made a ball weighing 7-8lbs and sewn like a baseball. He then recommended a series of exercises in his work with the Y.M.C.A. that included lifting, circling and throwing the medicine ball.
What skills does a good coach need to have? Is there a universal measure to help us find these? Do we even care?
Most people assume genetics are the factor that determines sprinting. As the cliche goes: sprinters are born while marathoners are made. That may be accurate if your goal is to become a world-class sprinter. However, if you are an average human being and your goal is to run faster, then environment and coaching become important factors too. This is especially important with children.
With the exceptions of professional athletes and some students, most sportspeople are time poor. Travel, work, study, family and competing, take up time in strangely inconvenient blocks that mess up your meticulous training routine. If the plan says, “90 minutes”, then it is easy to become disheartened when you only have 60 available. Or, for the ultra-committed, you become sleep-deprived as sleep is what “gives” in order to “make-it.” This is a short-term solution that comes back to kick you in the backside as you underperform in your sport or life.
The sport of weightlifting requires speed, strength, coordination, and mobility all packed together with skill. Anyone can pick something off the floor, but picking something heavy up and lifting it above the head is much more difficult. Even the strongest individuals can only lift heavy weights so far off the floor. Therefore, in order to lift, […]
There are many different styles of coaching. A coach might be direct, quiet, or use guided discovery. Coaches might be stronger with some styles than others and they may revert to that style by default. Athletes might learn better with a one style or another. And some tasks also demand a certain style: explaining where the fire exits are using a free exploration style before you start coaching a new group will simply waste time. A direct style is best suited for this. Where the style of the coach, athlete, and task line up match, good things can happen. Where they don’t, conflict or disappointment may result.