Workshop – A Head for Talent

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This was the second workshop in a series of four around Talent, specifically designed for The FA Girls Centre of Excellence coaches. This was therefore a mix between Sports Coach UK and The FA staff.

The first workshop focused on ‘What is Talent?’ with plenty of debates around what each person saw as talent and if it was mainly nature or nurture.

This workshop which this blog is going to focus on is “A Head for Talent?” the following aspects were explored on the workshop:

  • The concept of mindset
  • Mindset and your athletes
  • Mindset and the talent environment
  • Mindset in your coaching

It has a very in-depth look into Sports Psychology and really gets you thinking not only about you’re coaching styles but how you can therefore influence individual players within your squad. Thinking about the different levels and scales and which player is in which area and how you can aid their development even more thinking about the mindset they are in, and how that influences the level of talent they possess. Giving you ideas on the best methods to use for each individual player.

The Fixed or Growth Mindset quite possibly being the most important thing to think about with your players. Mindset changes the meaning of failure, while it can still be painful the way it is dealt with can therefore be very different. With failure this leads to problems which must be faced and dealt with, learnt from and overcome.

  • Fixed Mindset – Something you’re born with/Fixed
  • Growth Mindset – Comes from hard work/ Can always improve

This therefore has a big impact on understanding your players as a fixed mindset person is going to be less coachable as they don’t believe that they need to work as hard as think their talent and skill is all they need and that is enough. But with a growth mindset person believe that even the basic skills can be developed through handwork and dedication.

Growth Attitude – is another aspect to consider in coaching sessions and how you can link it in to help improve the psychological corner for players. What is it from each players perspective?

  • Tries alternatives
  • Welcomes challenge
  • Shows curiosity
  • Seeks feedback

I found it such an interesting workshop to take into consideration thinking much more in depth about the psychological and social corners, something that we do not do often enough when it comes to coaching sessions.

Flip thinking — changing any negative attitudes of thinking they are not good enough or that it is too hard and flipping it to be a positive and something that can actually be worked on. Certainly something if a player is struggling in a particular session and how you can then talk them round to trying it in a different way. The same on a match day and if they aren’t understanding the roles and responsibilities of the position they are playing in.

Feedback (and the outcome) is something that must be thought about in both training and matches due to the fact that it all has an impact on the learning and development of the players. Each method will create a positive, negative or even a learning curve for the individual.

  • Wrong Message at the wrong time = Disaster
  • Right message at the wrong time = Resistance
  • Wrong message at the right time = Mistake
  • Right message at the right time = Success

One of the main things I was left thinking about was that the coaching and talent environment is very messy. It is not going to work out perfectly for each session or game, mistakes are going to be made and everything is not always going to go to plan. That is also something that is not an issue, as we need to go through that stage at times to reach success and the overall aims. Remembering to use routines and habits to create a good learning environment for each individual and being able to help them improve and reach the goals that have been set, both short term and long term.

It really did make me think about the sessions I have delivered over the past season and what I can therefore change and adapt for next session, but as with anything else it is also good to see that so many things I have been doing is making a big difference. Especially with this workshop taking place after the end of year player assessments as it is a chance to get the players views on the whole season and how they have developed and learned over the second half of the season. But this is something that is done within training sessions as well as before and after.

Looking forward to attending the next two talent workshops next season!

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