How to reflect on your coaching
Reflecting can help you learn, adapt and grow. Of course, it’s not always easy. So, let’s explore how you can start to reflect on your coaching.
You’ll learn a lot during matches and training sessions. But it’s just as important to step back afterwards and reflect on what you saw.
After all, a massive part of coaching is learning from your real-world experiences. Reflection helps you do this. It links your education to your practice and offers many different benefits such as:
You’ll see if your training fits your coaching philosophy.
You’ll observe your team and consider how players benefit from the sessions.
You’ll spot opportunities to develop in the future.
So, what should you reflect on?
A challenge every good coach faces is deciding what exactly to reflect on. If you’re unsure, it’s easy to think about everything at once – and gain very little.
That’s why having a target focuses your reflection. For instance, you could concentrate on things like communication skills, gameplay, motivation or organisation.
When reflecting on these things, ask yourself questions like:
- Why did you act how you did?
- Could you have done anything differently?
- What have you learnt from the situation?
- How could this knowledge help in future?
Doing this can identify strengths, weaknesses and fresh ideas.
Who can help you with reflection?
Getting better at reflection isn’t usually a quick or easy process. You’ll need the support of those around you. Many people choose to work with an experienced mentor, someone who has been there and done that.
It’s important to take things slowly at first. New coaches are often used to more rigid thinking. Whereas an experienced coach might rely on life experiences and prescriptive principles. Too much too soon, and a new coach might get overwhelmed.
So, to help, start reflecting on things like:
- your opinions on the principles of football
- the reasons behind your actions
- the pros and cons of your ideas.
It might be tricky initially, but thinking critically like this can help you get used to reflecting on the grey areas. Those often bring the biggest rewards.
When should you reflect?
Reflection can happen at different times and often focuses on different things. You could reflect before a session or match, to help make plans for the future. Or you can even reflect during a game to see if there’s any action you could take straight away.
Most coaches reflect after a match, or even a few days later, when they can think more clearly.
But whenever you pause for reflection, it’s important you use that time to grow and become a more effective coach.