So continuing on from the yesterday’s post we had on how to make leaders of your players, here’s the second half!:

6) Show them good examples to follow
I mentioned this before in the previous post but it all really starts here. If we can be the models in our thoughts, our words and in our behaviours we will see. But it needn’t stop with us the coach. It speaks far louder when the players see one of their fellow teammates appreciated and commended. So when we can, we should praise and make an example of notable praiseworthy moments from within the group of players themselves. Then watch the others try to mimic in order to get a slice of the praise action.

7) Allow them to experience both leading and following
Working in small groups is great because it allows for less social fear to speak up and express yourself. I definitely see this when we do small group games notably in the first few sessions where players don’t quite know one another. But to take it one step further, having players step out of their comfort zone and be the appointed leader for their group speeds up that mastering of their social anxiety. Over time, with repetition, they will be comfortable either as leader or follower in a group, having experienced both sides.

8) Give them creative freedom
It’s so much fun to watch players behave when they don’t know they’re being watched. They are unshackled and act with complete freedom. You can really learn so much about the mechanics of the group but also so much about individuals. In an organized environment such as a session and training though, this is often lost. But by allowing and encouraging out of the box thinking and creative action we will see more of that genuine fun, fearless care free attitude that allows players to be their best.

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Fair to say Wayne Rooney has grown from being a player who used to wear his heart on his sleeve a little too much into now a true leader for club and country.

9) Good or bad, ask them to think of the effect they have on others
Sometimes we act instinctively and it’s good, sometimes we do it and it’s bad. Either way, they present great learning opportunities especially when our players do so. If we as coaches, can stop and realize that we are acting unconsciously especially when it has an effect on other teammates then we allow the players to have a moment of introspection and self reflection. These simple nudges to our players to look within themselves can be done following good and bad actions, they will both be effective learning tools for players.

10) Make them think big and then be accountable
‘All talk no action’ is a genuine fear of mine as a coach! I hate to be that guy that is known for his mouth than his motion. That’s why I’m prepared to outwork anybody that wants to challenge me. I hold myself accountable for my words. When it comes to our players, we should encourage the same. I love to see self confidence and belief and I openly want players to talk themselves up, whether privately or publicly. But… there needs to be that work ethic to go behind it, and they need to be held accountable. Words are one thing, work is another!

So there we have it. These are my personal top ten ways but I’d love to hear from you if you think there was a glaring admission or maybe you have suggestions on an order. Get in touch.

Until tomorrow.


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