Monday, 29 April 2019

A possible Canadian Elite Academy Coaching Professional development proposal

They will be able to watch the practice and we will share any plans we have available.  If I am not the one coaching then I will sit and explain the process, the drills and the approach as the practice are in progress.  All our practices are coed, and players are of all skill levels, we do not have academy teams so all instruction is individualized and designed to take a skill to the next level.  For each athlete, this level might be different.  The pre-brief will happen during the 15 minutes before and if the presenting coach wishes they will be available 15 minutes after the session to answer questions.  I would be available for most of the two hours to answer questions when I am not coaching, if I am coaching then I would invite the coach to join in with the practice as an assistant and then they can be involved with ball tossing and activity but a silent observer as the coaches are carefully selected by me for the sessions and are of a certain caliber.  If I know the coach and their level I might encourage them to be more vocally involved.  The coach during my sessions will be able to see the approach to skill development, the practice pace, how the instructions are given and the cues and feedback are given.  They will also see a wide variety of different drills to used to help instruct the skill being taught.  

Currently, we have this happening with a lot of different coaches and parents as we have open practices and anyone can watch and ask questions of the sessions.  Many bring notebooks and take notes during practice.  The only change I would make to process is the administration and registering the coaches before they attend to achieve the coaching professional development points.  We are asked to help complete teams with individual skills and we then attend their practices and the team coaches write down our whole process and pick and choose what they like and how they might incorporate it into their team practices.  We do this for free for the younger teams but older teams we charge for this service.  Our goal is not to make money but to help train the coaches and show them a different approach to running skill training.  For the younger teams, it is a form of advertising for the academy.  Currently, the success of the academy is based on the fact that team coaches spend so much time on building the team they do not get the opportunity to help with the individual skill training needed to build skilled volleyball players.  The whole mandate behind the academy is to break down the skills, spend two hours teaching a single skill, to give the athletes the skill instruction which they can then take and work on when they get a chance.  We try to fill in the gaps which when I coached teams, I found I did not have time to spend on individuals and single skills in the limited practice time.  A gap which is identified by the parents and athletes and given as the reason why they attend academy sessions  The academy tries to give the young athletes the foundation to develop the skill correctly so when they get older coaches are not spending their whole practice trying to break bad habits.

There are so many different ways to teach each of the different volleyball skills and using a variety of coaches allow the academy to share these different methods.  Different is not always wrong, but one method might work with one athlete and not with another.  The more coaches I get involved in the academy the more drills and approaches I have learned which has greatly improved my coaching and we would like to share this professional development with other coaches.  I know I am a visual learner and I have learned more about coaching volleyball by watching others coach during practices and I know there are others who also learn that way.  Hence our desire to formalize the professional development which is currently happening during the academy sessions.

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