A coach is a facilitator – they are there to guide the learning and development of their players. With that in mind we must shape our practices to encourage learning on the part of our players.
By using games that have an objective that indirectly requires players to perform a particular skill, you not only work on that skill but engage active learning on the part of the players. They must understand the objective and work out how to be successful at it. It may be a game that requires teams to move the ball to different players in a set area; which in order to be successful they will be working on passing the ball. As a coach you must be on hand to correct poor technique and reinforce good execution of the skill you are trying to develop.
It is also a worthwhile exercise to bring the players in and ask questions about what they are doing and what it is helping them to improve. There is also the opportunity to ask the players how they can change the game to change the particular skill they are working on, or to challenge them in a different way. Don’t be afraid to try some of these ideas as you can often discover a game that works very well and is one that you can use again.
As always, please feel free to share your experiences with us all.