How do you know a coach is any good at player development? I’m specifically addressing those coaches who are implicitly chartered with that goal.
Well, here it is:
1) The coach must have a clearly possession-based style.
2) The coach must be a winning one.
Metric 1 (possession)
First and foremost, if the coach is not ramming possession, possession, possession into the players, he’s not a good coach. PERIOD!
There is practically zero tolerance in this requirement.
But he can’t just be preaching it; he has to know how to teach it , and his product must reflect it – an extremely difficult, and patience-testing endeavor.
And please for the love of god, be careful when judging this! Because if I had a nickel for every time someone incorrectly stated their team plays possession – or even on the path to learning how – I’d be on the Forbes 400.
So what follows is a decent and simple way to do an assessment:
* Count how many 5-touch (minimum) sequences a team has during games. If it’s a rarity, the coaching is piss poor and players are not being developed. This isn’t much to ask, but once you start counting, you’ll realize just how common team’s fail.
* Against inferior opposition, it should be complete and total dominance (death by passes) – even 10, 15, or 20 touches should show up.
* Even when facing better player-for-player raw talent, 5-touch sequences should still be making appearances. If not, then sorry buddy, more work needs to be done.
Metric 2 (winning)
Contrary to what many misguided, but well intended, people believe – a truly exceptional coach is also a winning one. Winning of course, being judged by ones collective body of work.
But be careful how to interpret this…
The converse is NOT generally true: That is, a winning coach is a great coach.
Let’s make it abundantly clear. A winning coach says absolutely nothing about his capacity to develop players.
I don’t care if he’s won state titles, national titles, or prestigious tournaments. It’s all meaningless, if Metric #1 is not satisfied.
So there you go. Two macro-level objective criterion, where the first is non-negotiable. Tag on the second and you just might have something special, at least for the particular age group being assessed.
Cheers and happy counting!