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What’s all this Leadership by Empowerment stuff about?
What’s all this Leadership by Empowerment stuff about?

Leadership groups, leadership teams, player leadership teams, team councils………

What’s going on here? Players making decisions? Players leading? Players taking ownership of their training and playing programs?

  • What’s all this empowerment stuff about?
  • What does engagement mean? Is someone getting married?
  • And what the hell is a leadership group?

I thought coaches coached, managers managed, fans cheered, doctors doctored and players played.

All of sudden every AFL, rugby, football, cricket, netball and rugby league team has embraced a player empowerment leadership model. Five years ago, most of us couldn’t even spell it.

Let’s have closer look at what’s going on.

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Coach = Athlete = Coach
Coach = Athlete = Coach

Apply the same standards and expectations to yourself as you expect from your athletes.

Apply the same standards and expectations to yourself as you expect from your athletes.

One more time, just in case you didn’t get it.

Apply the same standards and expectations to yourself as you expect from your athletes.

Think about it. How can you coach at your best and provide quality coaching services to talented athletes when your own standards and what you expect of yourself is LESS than what you expect of your athletes?

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The Fourth Element – Athlete Engagement!
The Fourth Element – Athlete Engagement!

 

Training Load Lecture Number 1 of every coaching course in the world starts with the 3 standard variables in load management and exercise physiology:

  1. Volume – How much to do
  2. Intensity – How hard to do it
  3. Frequency – How often to do it.

But, once you have coached for a few years and actually worked with athletes, the fourth and perhaps the most important variable of all becomes apparent as the critical determinant of exercise and training:

4. Athlete engagement – How completely the athlete is engaged in doing the activity.

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Recruiting a Successful High Performance Team in High Performance Sport
Recruiting a Successful High Performance Team in High Performance Sport

 

Gone are the days of the “Guru” sports coaches: the “Super Coach” of the past has lost his powers to the kryptonite of modern sport – i.e. the increased complexity and sophistication of high performance sports environments.

Sure, the great names of coaching have all been “one man bands” – strong, decisive, authoritarian, personal leadership focused head coaches who controlled every aspect of the team’s performance.

However, high performance sport has developed at an incredible rate over the past twenty years and the knowledge and skills required to win a high performance sporting competition are greater than any one person can bring to the table.

Think of the advances in performance science, sports science, sports medicine, analysis, IT, nutrition, psychology and technology since the 1980s.

How can we expect that any one person can be the expert in all performance areas plus coach the team, deal with the media, work with Club Board and Executive, recruit new players, talk to sponsors, meet the fans etc etc etc?

So – the Coaching Team and High Performance Team concepts are born.

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Bye Bye Bompa, Bompa Bye Bye….the death of periodisation.
Bye Bye Bompa, Bompa Bye Bye….the death of periodisation.

First let me say I have total, 100% complete admiration and respect for Bompa himself – a true pioneer of the sports coaching and the sports performance industry. This article is in no way a criticism of him personally but rather a proclamation that Periodization as a concept is now officially dead and buried.

Periodization – that is, the traditional sports training planning model involving long blocks (cycles or phases) of training which emphasise specific aspects of training is 20 years past the use by date and it’s time we all moved on to something more relevant and more effective for the training and preparation of athletes in this century.

The popular version of periodisation was developed in the Eastern block, 40 years ago, for senior athletes: another time, another system, another world – and totally inappropriate for today’s athletes.

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Winning Ugly: Win When No One Expects You To.
Winning Ugly: Win When No One Expects You To.

Sometimes you win. Occasionally you win easily. But most of the time you win when it’s difficult, challenging and when things go wrong…winning ugly.

Winning.

Sometimes you win.

Very rarely do you win easily when everything goes the way you planned it to go in training.

Sometimes winning is about winning ugly.

So what is winning ugly?

Question:

How may times do you actually go out on the field with all of your best players 100% fit and healthy and in the best form of their lives?

Answer:

a. Sometimes

b. Often

c. All the time

d. Never.

If you answered d. Never – give yourself a round of applause.

The aim of the game is to win. In a perfect world the “football-fairy” appears and magically transforms your team into a perfect performance powerhouse that seemingly wins with ease.

In the real world, there is no “football-fairy” and you’ve got to win when you’re tired, when you’re fatigued, when you’re not feeling great – you gotta find ways of winning ugly.

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Sports Science and Coaching: Bridging the Gap.
Sports Science and Coaching: Bridging the Gap.

Sports science has made and can continue to make a huge impact on sports performance. However, most sports scientists do not communicate their knowledge, research, ideas and information very well. As a result, many coaches will listen to and work with sports scientists who have made the effort to understand the coaching “world” and to sports science professionals who listen to, respect and engage with them as equals – as professionals trying to make a difference.

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Drugs, Alcohol and Elite sport: a real life approach
Drugs, Alcohol and Elite sport: a real life approach

Every time a professional player or elite athlete tests positive to drugs or is caught abusing alcohol, you can guarantee three things will happen:

  1. Newspapers and other media will over react and claim an isolated incident is evidence of an inherent drug and alcohol abuse culture in the club or sport (or all of sport);
  2. The club or sport will over react and ensure a drugs and alcohol education program is put in place as soon as possible;
  3. Everyone associated with the incident will over react, deny responsibility and blame someone else.

 What’s the reality?

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The Coaches “Box” – Good and Bad in the Hot Seat in Professional Sport.
The Coaches “Box” – Good and Bad in the Hot Seat in Professional Sport.

They don’t call it the Hot Seat for nothing – the coaches’ box!

The coaches’ box is the place where the coaches sit during the game and make important decisions about tactical, strategic and technical issues that have the potential to impact on the momentum of the game and even change the end result.

Some coaches’ boxes work well.

Some coaches’ boxes don’t.

So what’s the difference?

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