Having a Game Plan

by frank-stuart
12SEP

Coaching a sports team or an athlete is one of the most challenging but rewarding jobs there is. It’s a job that requires you to be a deep thinker, a good communicator and an inspirational leader. Most of the work is done at training. Hours are spent each week developing, teaching and practicing a game plan, and analysing other teams’ game plans. A coach and his or her staff will try to find any way to get an edge over the opposition. In this article we will explore methods coaches can use to develop effective game plans and strategies.

Game analysis

A coach needs to have the ability to analyse a game while in progress, which is a rare skill. He or she must be able to understand how the game is unfolding and why it is unfolding the way it is. A coach should also try to keep composed so he or she can make rational and effective decisions. In the heat of the battle, a coach can’t rely on instant replays or video analysis, but will have statisticians gathering key data to help the coach pinpoint what is going right or wrong, and how it can be improved. A coach also needs to be able to communicate to the players what role they should be performing. The language used on game day is often developed at training so players automatically understand the message the coach is trying to convey.

Statistics

There’s no doubt that statistics are playing a more important role than ever in assessing a team’s performance. While it’s true that cold hard data can never tell the whole story of a match, statistical analysis is far more sophisticated these days, and it can help to identify which areas an athlete or team needs to improve on. A coach not only needs to be able to interpret statistics, but needs to prioritise statistics relevant to the game plan, the opposition, the weather conditions, and other factors.

Automaticity

Automaticity is a term used to describe skills and techniques that become second nature to athletes. This is what all coaches want their athletes to have, and it is achieved through smart recruitment and a well-planned training regime. Players who have automaticity do not have to think much about executing their skills – they can do it automatically. Ricky Ponting can make some batting strokes look easy, but behind those elegant strokes is years of intense training. Staying with cricket, consider the influence Terry Jenner had on Shane Warne. Jenner not only helped Warne develop his leg-spin technique, but is said to have taught him strategies for dismissing batsmen and motivated him to improve his fitness.

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