Tools to help reflect on your coaching
Being able to reflect effectively is an essential skill for a coach. So, we explore how using different tools makes reflection easier, more consistent, and more rewarding.
There’s a lot to take in during training and matchday. Even experienced coaches only remember 59% of the events from 45 minutes of football. And not remembering – or even false memory – can negatively impact your reflection later on.
That’s where technology helps. For example, learners on the UEFA A and UEFA B courses watch footage of their coaching sessions. This allows for more effective reflection and feedback.
Using technology for reflection
Watching video footage of your session can be a hugely valuable tool when reflecting – and it’s easier than ever. You don’t need expensive camera equipment.
You can use a smartphone or tablet to record your sessions. A tripod or willing volunteer will make filming easier. Some coaches also use recording apps to save voice notes and play them back later. Just keep your phone handy or use a pair of headphones.
If you’re planning to reflect using video footage, try the following process:
- Plan: Decide on a focus for your reflection and the duration of the video. 15-20 minutes is usually enough. Keeping it brief will help you focus your thinking on your main aims.
- Do: Record your session or thoughts and save them for later.
- Review: It might take a while to get comfortable watching yourself – but it’s worth it. Don’t be too critical, and remember your goals. Then summarise the three things you did well and one or two areas where you could improve.
View reflection as continuous development. It’s a chance to learn. And use technology – if you can – to spot strengths, identify weaknesses, and evolve as a coach.
Using a journal for reflection
Another great way to reflect is by keeping a journal. This helps you become a more engaged and active learner.
Write down your goals, if you achieved them, and anything you learnt. Did anything – both positive and negative – happen during your recent session? What did those things tell you?
And try thinking critically – don’t just ask what happened, ask why, why not, and how. You can then use this information to reflect and learn.
Then start writing and see what falls onto the page.
Reflecting on your practice
As a coach, you’re constantly reflecting. Sometimes it’s unplanned or without a focus, like when you’re driving home from a session. You can also reflect with colleagues or when planning future ideas.
Deeper, structured reflection time helps you grow as a coach. Try critical thinking. Then, use technology and journaling to back up your thoughts. Through this self-evaluation process, improved awareness and ongoing learning, you can take your coaching to the next level.