If there is one thing that I am always asked about as an experienced coach and also as a coach educator, is “Where can I find ideas for session plans” or “The best football coaching resources I can use to help me with my planning or training?”
It is usually the less experienced coach who is always looking for new fresher ideas to keep their training sessions interesting and trying to stop them from becoming stale.
They are the coaches that are still of the mindset that they need to do something different every single training session.
This is what I always tell them (maybe not these exact words but something very similar).
“If you go on Google and type in football coaching session plans you will get around 15,800 000 hits. Looking through them to find a session plan you like is a long and tedious exercise and not one of them will help your players improve” and here is the reason why.
Other people’s session plans on the internet are ideas that were used for a certain bunch of players that were designed to meet their needs during training, they are not a one size fits all plan.
Now, unless you take those ideas, use them as a template, and adapt and change them to suit your player’s needs then it is a worthless exercise.
As coaches become more experienced they are more aware of this fact, plus they have a bank of their sessions and adaptions of others that are perfect for their players.
They do, however still require resources but for a different reason, they wish to improve their knowledge of the game that will take them to the next level.
It is this that I am going to focus on within this article!!
Please bear in mind this is not an exhaustive list when it comes to resources.
I have discussed this in another article before on the importance of coaching courses and qualifications, which you can check out here by just clicking the link (What You Need to Know to Become a Football Coach). As resources go, coaching courses are an invaluable source of information where you can learn plenty, along with creating a network of like-minded coaches.
It doesn’t matter how experienced or inexperienced you are there is something for everyone. Course content that has been designed through lots of research, a knowledgeable tutor that you can ask lots of questions without fear of ridicule and learn from their own experiences, gain new session ideas, learn different ways of coaching, and work with your peers on the same journey as yourself and bounce ideas off each other.
Masterclasses are a fantastic resource, it is here where you can take away as little or as much as you want in an informal setting. A masterclass can be ‘live’ practically or online and is performed by a very experienced coach (which is even better if they are a top professional). They will give you an insight into their training sessions and games that have been used themselves, talking and showing the tactical information along with the smallest most important details that made everything work.
I prefer to see a masterclass up close and personal, as I know it cannot be edited if something goes wrong and you get to see everything in real-time all the small details, the little coach behaviours and the way the players react to the instructions given. However, you can miss things especially if you start to discuss with other coaches and your focus shifts, there is no rewind in real-time.
Webinars are informal interactive online workshops and are usually designed for coaches who have the relevant qualifications e.g., UEFA A & B, although some are generally for any coach at any level.
They are put together for the continued professional development (CPD) of the coach, usually with a couple of tutors, managers or experienced coaches, a PowerPoint presentation and some video footage. The coach observing can ask questions via the chat function or just watch with limited interaction.
These are excellent resources for personal development, and you can choose which webinar to view based on the topics provided, that you as a coach want to learn more about.
Good old-fashioned books have always been amazing resources, I’m talking about physical copies where you don’t need the internet or any power at all to open them and read through them. I understand the new digital world we live in of course I do, but an actual paperback or hardback book that you can carry with you at all times can become your coaching bible if it has the detail and information you require that will help transform your coaching.
There are lots of great books out there if you typed ‘football coaching books’ into Amazon’s search engine you would get 40,000 hits and that is a lot of scrolling to try and find a good one that is aimed at your level of coaching. The easiest way to find good coaching books is through recommendations or word of mouth. Click here for an article on some of the best soccer biographies.
If you are a forward-thinking coach, then you will always be looking for ways to increase your knowledge of the game and your craft. The above methods are all fantastic ways of learning and developing, and you can gain so much from them, but they are not the only ways.
You could simply go and observe another coach train and you can take away valuable information, or have a discussion with another coach and pick their brains on how they would do certain things. More importantly, these are free, you just have to put yourself out there.
Think about this, there are over 28,000,000 hits on Google for football coaching resources, so you need to be specific about what you are searching for and what you want to learn about. Otherwise, you could be sitting at your computer for a long time and still be no further forward. Trust me I’ve done that and it’s not a pleasant experience.