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Spending time, not to waste time!

Spending time, not to waste time!

Sharing the meaning of words provides lots of multi-level benefits: let’s see which benefits, and which are the more common mistakes to avoid!
one way soccer meme

Training of children: the coach lines up the children next to each other and says: "when I say GO you  run ahead. When I say OP you SPRINT to the right until I whistle".

At the start the children begin to run enthusiastically, but some are hesitating. As soon as they shouted OP the coach realized what they were wondering about: while most of the children sprang right as requested, some of them halted, others ran left. The result was that some children felt down, others went home with a bump on their forehead, others burst into laughter and made fun of those who were wrong.

Some of you may think “those distracted children!...surely they were chatting while the coach was talking... there always is somebody who doesn’t understand , it’s natural .... to fall down is useful, so they learn to get up again...” 

Of  course it’s usually possible that somebody in the group doesn’t catch the meaning (not always, I mean) and it’s true that falling down often helps learning to get up again in both a physic and metaphoric sense. It is also true that in this case the problem starts from the beginning: the coach took it for granted that all the children could distinguish between right and left (they realized later that this was not the case) and that all of them knew the meaning of the term “SPRINT”
When I do field observation (this allows me to create ad hoc training moments for coaches) it often happens to see this kind of situations that could be avoided if coaches would spend some time to share the meaning of words, mainly at the beginning of the year when everything is still a novelty.

Many words and idioms are often used without considering that young people,-children in particular- don’t know their exact meaning. Sometimes metaphors, maxims, etc. are used, which young people have never heard before, or are not able to understand in their individual growing stage. For instance, when relating to children up to 9/10 years old it is important to adopt a concrete, factual language, just because the ability of hypothetical-deductive reasoning including abstract thought develops only in later years.

Another frequent error is to use a dialect or slang: on the one hand it keeps us held fast to our roots and tradition, on the other hand it may sound extremely difficult to understand for the new generation of children or for foreign people who at best are still learning english.

Sharing the meaning of words has a lot of advantages on many fronts:

  • Optimization of time: spending time in explaining the meaning of words and verifying that it has been thoroughly understood is a very good investment in the long term;
  • Optimization of attention: attention decreases more rapidly with decreasing age; losing time in repeating directions and re-explaining, children get fed up with it and easily divert their attention;
  • Increase of motivation and efforts: boys are motivated and get enthusiastic when they realize they understand and do the right thing (of course a different matter is a mistake caused by inexperience, immaturity, learning stage, etc.);
  • Increase/preservation of the coach’s motivation: I think the reasons are obvious;
  • Serene, untroubled working environment for both the players and the coach;

  • Greater confidence in the group and among the boys who perceive each other as being ready, attentive and skilful;

  • Improved quality of relationships: often young people, children/boys (for convenience I’m using the masculine, but also the female universe is included) are easily laughed at when they appear to be clumsy, not brilliant, or when they make a mistake. Explaining means to lower the probability that this will happen.

Sharing the meaning of words means to allow the children/boy to understand what we’re talking about, follow the explanation and respond better to physical, technical, tactical, motor and mental requests.


So let’s learn to spend our time well, especially at the beginning, without any urge to overdo it, which leads to confusion, demotivation, weakening of relationships and lowering of confidence in themselves and in the group/team.



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