As a coach at any age group one of the biggest challenges faced comes far from the training ground. It likely doesn’t even occur within the club.
It is of course managing the breaks. All kind of panic stricken scenarios arise from internal questions that you pose.
“Will my players return?”
“Other teams are poaching!”
“We need to keep training?”
“We must be the best?”
“They don’t need a rest!”
The truth is that every coach harbours these thoughts and feelings, we all want the best for our players and the breaks are an opportunity to improve. With senior players that have a long and often intense season, littered with promotion and relegation worries, cup finals, play-offs then end of season drinking sessions are all playing on the mind.
The players usually have families, pick up overtime work and will be in desperate need of a rest. You can however use socialising and team get togethers with the occasional drink as a means of strengthening your team cohesion.
Encourage them to meet and socialise with players including their partners and children. Encourage them to share quality time together. As this age with more responsibility, the growth spurts finished it’s safe to plan and recommend some resistance based training and fitness sessions away from the training ground. Reward them that if all the team engage in extra conditioning activities that they can help the season planning and it will be ball skills and fun once preseason starts.
Although more often than not seen as a time of turbulence the breaks in a season should be looked upon as an opportunity to try different ways to engage your players and team. A chance to learn more about each other as people not just team mates. What can be more enjoyable than spending a season of hard work and challenge with a person you are willing to buy a present for our share some festive moments with. The break is a tool and should be used to learn.