G’Day ‘learners’.

Today’s blog will help sports coaches (and all caring adult stakeholders) to:

Consider the idea of non-contested spacial use to better inform the practice and future of your own and peers’ efforts with learners…

As promised here is something from great learner of Dutch/World soccer:

When you play a match, it is statistically proven that players actually have the ball 3 minutes on average … So, the most important thing is: what do you do during those 87 minutes when you do not have the ball. That is what determines wether you’re a good player or not.  (Great Human (RIP))

Here I’m pretty sure he is is suggesting that dribbling practice around cones and the like makes no sense, especially for adept players.  What is the AFL equivalent?  Kick to kick or handball to handball in my opinion.  NRL and Rugby? Line passing without defenders. Not only are they unrealistic (in fact in the AFL suggestions you have two lines moving only to what's in front of you like league) but defy the idea that most of the stuff players in most any level do is find space, deny space or dispose of balls under pressure.

Now, I know he is an ‘outlier’ but the Don hit one six only in his career. Aussies are reared are reared on the tale of him with the golf ball, stump and water tank.  ThusI hope we remember that nurturing and environment are pretty important…

Speaking of environment, anyone who has ever seen me coach ‘contact’ knows however that there is a time for simplification and closed dills. Yet I am aware that many people refer to my teaching as “Gunny Madness” or “Gunny Chaos”. Thus, I feel that I need to have a look at my sales pitch.

For instance take a look at the below questioning to me from a former team-mate and Adelaide friend of Dr. Shane Pill:

Gunny, one thing I didn’t ask was, using last night as a template ,would you normally stop and add the layers as frequently as occurred, or, would you let the players have more time on a particular set up before moving on to the next layer?

The question is probably more aimed at coaches of a group for the year ( 2 nights a week 1- 1hr 15min) as opposed to teaching them new thoughts as in last night session.

Is it better to keep changing it up as rapidly to keep them on their toes, or, really let them settle into one segment without boring them, to try to get a particular part right?

Not sure if this is a right or wrong answer style question but just so I can get a feel for a coach who has the team long term.

An experienced PE teacher can tell that this human is a very experienced coach. For example, he picked up that the changes were coming rapidly and guessed correctly that they were probably for observing coaches. implementing them in a suite later He is also hinting that at times it’s important to stay where the learners are deeply engaged and that there is no right or wrong. Well that’s my reading of it anyway! In any case, it’s a clear example to me that maybe I should be called ‘crazy’. I mean here I am presenting things in such a way that even an experienced coach is confused. Not that confusion isn’t great for learning of course…

Which brings me to the point of this piece. You see, the coach interacting with me in questions above played a very high standard but was not absolute ‘elite’, like Johan Cruyff. I STRONGLY believe that this class of player are often the better coaches. In fact, apart from the amazing Simon Black, there are not many long-term ‘elite’ former male players of AFL in particular, who are as liberal minded as Johan. Of course, notwithstanding those with a teaching degree.

You see, the sub-elite spent more time on the bench. The ‘elite’ always got to play so often don’t really know why they are so much better than the others. Of course many will cite hard work but for us others, sitting on the bench allows you to be always asking questions about how and why these team mates are better. It also creates an opportunity to become far more observant and reflective. Now this is something that I find is missing with many ‘elite’ turned coaches that I have met.

Maybe it’s different in the women’s game? Well one thing I can tell you is the great Joey Peters of ‘Game Play Learn’ has coached at the top yet still does most of her mingling with the Grassroots!

This amazing national treasure is so so humble!!! Still keen to do the absolute best at learning whilst she can. For who? Her learners. Thus my fellow peers, Joey, who was probably the Sam Kerr of her day (but not lucky enough to be paid like Sam) gives us 10 very easy to understand coaching principles if you dare. They are practical and pretty much all any coach needs to rely on when wanting to improve.

What an amazing human being and of course lifelong learner. So yes, from what I have seen of soccer in Australia, Joey is our Johan: oozing passion, learning, and, care for our young people. Does it get any better than that? I don’t think so! Love walking alongside you in the journey now and again LEGEND! And my peers, seek her out and you will enjoy the learning too!

Find Joey at ‘Game Play Learn’ below. If you want a mentor coach, in any sport, there is none better in this country! I know this, as she is still prepared to give to the Grassroots like a local soccer club in my area and the AFL women I coach. What a national treasure! Please remember Gunny doesn’t drink… Thus, all true!

And on Twitter her preferred sharing space!

Looks like she was a fan of JC too!

Yours in learning,