In a recent article in Fairfax Media leading sports journalist Carolyn Wilson wrote about how Hawthorn coach Alistair Clarkson had spoken to the AFL Commission about his views on junior players enjoying the game and having fun. Not just having fun for the sake of it, but by playing games at training to help aid the player’s development.
Clarkson’s criticism was junior players were being exposed to too many drills and not enough time just `playing the game’.
He believed this lack of exposure to game scenarios at training had exposed young footballers who get drafted to an AFL club for not having adequate enough decision making skills.
The ability of the coach to expose their players to game scenarios invariably leads to players who can think through situations and execute skills in a match environment. These scenarios also lead to higher work rates and far greater enjoyment.
At all levels of netball, coaches should be exposing their players to games or utilising Game Sense training.
High performing coaches are able to establish this environment while still ensuring players are developing technical aspects of the game along with decision making.
By implementing coaching strategies such as discrete coaching, role modelling and questioning coaches are able to make players aware of the aspects of their game that need refinement and give them the intent to make changes.
Games can look chaotic and some coaches feel they lose control in this situation, no doubt it is a more challenging method of coaching.
What needs to be kept in mind is that this process will develop better decision makers and players who can execute skills confidently in a game.
If you’re unsure if your training is incorporating game sense activities, have a think about these questions:
- Does the activity ‘look’ like netball?
- If not, are the players developing skills that they would use in a game?
- Does the activity allow for players to make decisions?
- Is there an objective?
These are by no means the be all and end all indicators of a game sense activity but it does give you a guide as to what your training should be looking like.
So, as you plan the season ahead have a think about how you structure your training and how you can ensure your players are having fun.
Click here to read an article by Professor Richard Light from the School of Sport and Physical Education from New Zealand’s University of Canterbury about developing skill execution through Game Sense.