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 likely poor and players are not being developed (unless the process just got started). 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!