Measuring the success of the season
For MiniRoos and Youth coaches
As the football season draws to a close and we begin to look back on the season had, how will you measure the success of the season? What key areas will you focus on?
Think back to when you had your very first training session with your team. Was it smooth sailing with players engaging in beautiful football practices? Or was it something that more closely resembled bees rioting around a football?
Take a moment and ask yourself where did we start?
There are a variety of ways to measure the success of your season. I think it’s vital for a coach to take a meaningful look at the season to determine what worked and what could be improved, and to highlight the success stories that individuals and the team have experienced throughout the season.
I would like to draw your attention to three areas that I believe are important when looking back on the season just gone: Individual player development, team development and enjoyment.
DEVELOPMENT NOT RESULTS.
Some of us use the ladder or our win/loss ratio as a metric to determine how ‘successful’ our season has been. I strongly encourage you to move away from this as it doesn’t provide an in-depth analysis of the individual progress and success from the season.
Peel back the layers and investigate the individual player development that has taken place over the season. What was the starting point for your players? Were they confident in their ability and to try new skills?
By examining each player’s starting point and where they are now, you should be able to create little success stories for each player. Little Johnny not knowing how to do an L-tun to brimming with confidence and executing one in a match! Sally growing her juggling tally from 4 to 28 using both feet and her thighs!
Individuals have progressed throughout the season with each player starting and ending at different points. I encourage you to highlight a ‘success story’ with each player that you have witnessed over the season, from the small ones to the big ones. If each player has improved their ability through effort and commitment, they have been successful.
“Success: A peace of mind that comes from knowing you did your best” – John Wooden
What’s the diamond formation? Is 1-4-3-3 a postcode coach?!
Where is your team now compared to when you first got the ball rolling at the start of the season? Draw your attention to training and matches and how your team have developed across both. From what could’ve looked like bees circling a honey pot to organised chaos, have your players started to understand the world game? Have your MiniRoos players somewhat grasp technical skills and basic game play? Do your Youth players work as a unit and pass, move, tackle and shoot as one? I am sure that if you take a step back and observe your team you will see many positive behavioural changes that have taken shape since the start of the season. The team’s ability to maintain possession, win the ball back and put it into the back of the net! The team’s capability and capacity to work and problem solve together, and the numerous acts of unselfishness throughout matches.
A group of unique individuals have formed and created an inter-connected group. The sum of the whole has exceeded the parts – success!
The single greatest tool of measuring the success of your season is by the enjoyment players have experienced throughout the year. We as coaches can get caught up in the nitty-gritty details of coaching, sometimes drifting away from the most central factor in relation to participating in sport – joy!
If I had to boil down the role of a coach it would be the ability to develop and foster enthusiasm and a deep love for the game in each of your players. Creating an environment whereby players feel safe to express themselves, to smile and to enjoy playing the round ball game. In my opinion, your season has been a true success if your players decide to lace up their boots and take to the fields next year and the years to come.
So, I challenge you to reflect on the season through both an individual player and team lens, sharing development success stories to players and parents alike. I encourage you to fill every moment from now until the end of the season with joy and care in the hope that when you ask the closing question of the season “Will you be playing again next year?”, you are deafened by a resounding “YES COACH”.
Written by Nick Marr.