A variety of methods are used to teach players proper technique and ideas on the game. For many technical coaching points, the coach employs a direct or task method where he/she is in control of the information and feeds it to the players. Providing clear pictures and demonstrations of appropriate technique or tactics is crucial with this method. Be careful not to drill your players for long periods, though, and avoid the 3 L's: laps, lines, and lectures.
Using other methods, try not to always dictate and direct the decisions players make. For example, create environments where players can problem-solve on their own or with some assistance. Players need to make their own mistakes. Encourage them to make their own decisions. Reduce player dependence on adult guidance by using a guided discovery method. In practice and games, guide players to the correct answer rather than providing it to them all the time.
Whether using a direct or problem-solving method, employ a freeze or cue method. Be careful not to stop the game too much, though. Let the players play.
Regardless of the method used, a progression-based approach can be very helpful, particularly for younger players who internalize information more readily when a single topic is stressed.
Recommended approaches to teaching:
- Freeze Method: Stopping and freezing play within training to identify a "mistake/error" and creating better picture through reenactment and demonstration or celebrating and identifying successful completion of technique/task/decision/tactic.
- Cue Method: Providing verbal suggestions during action within training and games to "cue" players to act ahead of plays.
- Natural Stoppages Method: Using natural moments within training activities where play is stopped for breaks, water and otherwise, to instruct/lead/advise players.
- Individual Approach: Taking one player aside during play to discuss ideas or skill improvements.
- Collective Approach: Taking the team aside before, during, or after training activities in order to elaborate on "coachable moments."
- Small Group/Line Approach: Taking a smaller group than the team aside, such as the "back 4," to talk about challenges/issues facing the group.