Thought I’d keep it nice and light today and go with a listicle write up, but with a topic that is dear to my heart.

I truly believe that every single player, person, child  we encounter has greatness inside them. They have gifts that are unique to them. They are already special. But they may not be showing it, because they may not believe it or have not been given the platform.

As coaches, as parents, as responsible guardian figures in their life, we can help them access their gifts and realize they have a lot to offer.

Here’s my top 10 ways to do just that starting with the first five!:

Neymar Jr has become so much more since being given that added responsibility at the National level. His winning penalty sealed Brazil’s much coveted olympic gold medal in summer 2016.

1) Place responsibility on them
Watching the difference after placing the spotlight on a player always makes me smile.

‘Who me?’

“Yes you!”

When a player feels they have a level of responsibility placed on them I’ve experienced it, they give a whole lot more than they would had they not been. They have a sense of purpose and pride in their performance and transform. In your next session, try calling out and placing some responsibility on one of the quieter kids and see what happens.

2) Ask for their input and respect it
The session is about the players. I remember when starting out I had this all wrong and just used to blast through the session with almost any notice of the players! Almost as if they were just there and it was all about the organisation, the neatness and the structure. But when we put the needs of the players first and ask actively for their feedback and general opinion with humility and respect we see more engagement, more self esteem and more trust. It’s beautiful.

3) Allow them to experience failure
This can be tricky and with sports parents I see it a fair bit where they just can’t stand to see their children face any adversity. But honestly these are the best times for children to grow, learn and become better. Of course its so important that the coach, player and parent are all on the same page and that there is a real feeling of safety and trust between them all, but once in place, letting players experience from so called ‘failures’ is among my favourite learning tools because it teaches far more deeper than any other person could.

4) Encourage them to become problem solvers
The game is fluid and free moving. It’s all about making the right decisions at the right time based on what information is available. In training replicating this is important and by constantly using challenges and problems for players to try to solve helps lessen that difference in performance from training to matchday. There are a whole host of different problems and different ways to solve these, but by encouraging players to think for themselves we can begin to see some real self reliance come through.

5) Encourage a ‘how can I serve you’ mentality
Players lead by example and if the coach has a service first mentality it will in time filter down to all the players too. Giving opportunities in sessions and in games and even in between allows for players to be more to the team by doing more for the team. This could simply play out in an obvious form with the captain’s armband, or without it with different players leading warm-ups, different players being in charge of equipment duty and even different players give pre and half time team thoughts. No gesture whether big or small will be wasted.

So there we have it. That’s part 1 with five. Check out tomorrow for the 2nd part of five.

Which one of these five resonates with you guys? Which have you experienced has the biggest effect?

PS. If you folks think there’s a coach or parent that’d like this post then please go ahead and share.

Until tomorrow,



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