By Will Braid
Sport is tribal, we know this.
Be it barracking for your favorite professional team or being a dyed in the wool member of your local club, the club and tribal mentality of sport drives players, coaches, administrators and volunteers alike.
I mention coaches in there. How many times have you heard a coach say how much they love to kick the guts out of a certain opponent or use “this is our dung heap” in their pre-game speech? Plenty for me and I’ve used it myself.
But can this tribalism be used by a coaches collectively at a club?
Rather than using it as a driver for players, how about a driver for better coaching?
When Tasmania was in the business of winning Sheffield Shield titles, not only did it have a good team, but it had a coaching structure that supported collective improvement at all levels of the game, striving for an ultimate goal of being the best in the country.
It was called, “Coaching the Tasmanian Way”.
This meant every coach in the pathway was given basic information on how to coach certain aspects of a game, the benefits were far reaching, none more so than payers moving up through the high performance pathway knowing what is expected of them when they get to the higher level.At it’s heart, it taught of an ethos for that sport that all coaches at any level in the State could buy into.
The challenge is, does your club have something similar.
Most community clubs will have a coach and assistant for each team. For Motton Preston in the North West Football Association, it will have four coaches. Glenorchy Cricket Club in the Cricket Tasmania Premier League it means many more with seniors and juniors. Even West Devonport Hockey Club has at least one coach and an assistant for each of its seven teams including juniors.
Successful clubs will always pull in the same direction. Using hockey as the example, how does each team in the club approach each game? Is there an ethos that is brought into be it fairness, high performance, a certain game plan or style? High ball speed, easy passes, attack down the right for example.Having an approach from the top down at club level provides a clear pathway for aspirational players to move up the grades toward senior sport. These players could be a talented junior or heard working clubman wanting to play at the highest level possible.
So, can tribalism be created among a collective of club coaches?
I reckon it can. Open and regular conversations between coaches is just the start. Professional development is the next thing. Clubs can invest in coach accreditation and foster a tribal feeling among its club coaches by sending all coaches to the same session. There are other professional development events that TASSACC will be announcing soon that can be used. Coaching forums, memberships of coaching groups like TASSACC and providing access to high performance coaches.
A collective approach to coaching at your club could be the difference between a deep squad with potential and a collective of coaches working across the club to get the most out of full list.
By Will Braid