Collaboration - Coaching Staff

The collaboration between the coaching staff is paramount to a training session. The ability to plan and prepare a session to include intelligent decision making, creativity, fun, physical, technical, tactical, mental and social compartments requires the coaches to communicate, have an honest conversation, debate an issue, putting forward strong suggestions in what could work better for the good of the cause. A trust and bond forms as they are a team working together. TEAM- Together Everyone Achieves More.

All concerned will have an important part to play in making the session a success. Maximising the time available to maximise the performance of the players.

Collaboration between the Coaches in finalising the planning for the morning training session during Southampton's 2011 pre-season tour to Interlaken in Switzerland.  From the left 1st Team Coach Dean Wilkins, Head of Sport Science Nick Harvey and Assistant Manager Andy Crosby.

Collaboration between the Coaches in finalising the planning for the morning training session during Southampton's 2011 pre-season tour to Interlaken in Switzerland.

From the left 1st Team Coach Dean Wilkins, Head of Sport Science Nick Harvey and Assistant Manager Andy Crosby.

Above is a picture of my coaching staff at Southampton during our pre-season tour to Interlaken in Switzerland in 2011. The collaboration between Andy Crosby, Dean Wilkins and Nick Harvey was outstanding and was paramount to making the pre-season tour the success it was.

The foundations for the successful promotion season were laid during the important pre-season period.

The attention to detail by the guys was phenomenal. No stone was left unturned in the planning and preparation for every training session. It provided our very talented players with the opportunity to maximise their abilities, be challenged, use their intelligence, problem solve, make decisions, and improve.

Utilising technology and coaching we worked together to gain maximum physical outputs. The use of GPS - Global Positioning System, monitors, ensured we could track every session and the physical work carried out by the players. The training load, the distance covered in the session, for example - walking, running, high speed running (HSR), sprints and changes of direction, whilst also monitoring the heart rate exertion of the players.

Working together, the coaches could define area dimensions, the length of time during and between the blocks of training for maximum physical benefit.

We would prepare position specific sessions. Technical and tactical elements were catered for in how we wanted to play as a team. All sessions videoed for feedback and analysis by the coaches and players.

The importance of decision making by the players is crucial in developing free flowing football. Challenging the players to make intelligent decisions within the session.

The players need to have an understanding of working together, positive and intelligent mentality in problem solving, adapting to the changing situation of the game, the challenges of a moving game and the opposition. Who can quickly seize the opportunity and lead in that particular moment.

The collaboration of the players to work together, quickly adapting to situations and making decisions. Not just relying on the coach to do everything for them.

Below is an example, we call it the gates game, using 2 teams 10v10. Pitch dimensions of 18yd box to 18yd box and full width of the pitch. 2 poles a few yards apart form a gate, several gates are positioned randomly around the pitch. A set time period for continuous play then a short timed break for a drink and coach feedback before another block of the game. As part of our periodised training programme these times altered, increasing in time and decreasing in rest period.

The players are asked to keep possession of the ball and either pass or run the ball through the gates, thus scoring a goal. If the opposition win the ball, the team who had just lost it are encouraged to get it back straight away, by pressing the team which now has the ball. 

The team that wins the ball needs to get it away from the pressing opposition as quickly as possible and look for the outlet pass, free available team mate, and then find space on the pitch, stretching the opponents out of a compact shape, getting into a flow of passing and looking to score through the gates. 

Key words and phrases : Movement, Awareness, Scan, Head up, Pass the ball quickly and calmly, Get the ball back and Press are encouraged.

The collaboration as a multidisciplinary team we had at Southampton was important to me. The sessions we created as a coaching staff in particular Andy, Dean and Nick cleverly provided the framework in which the players could develop into intelligent, creative, decision making, elite athletes, who developed technically and tactically, becoming resilient, emotionally intelligent and forging that family bond that achieved the season goal of promotion to the Premier League.