The Less Known Role of a Coach

The Less Known Role of a Coach

Nov 05

A lot of people think that sports coaches are only pre-occupied with winning. But the truth is that there are other equally important aspects of the game that coaches focus on. As a football team coach, I’ve been actively involved in the athletic healthcare of my players.

A couple of months ago, I attended a seminar about the coach’s role in ensuring safety of players. Basically, the coach’s primary role is to prevent injury and minimize possible risks. However, coaches must be actively involved in all aspects of athletic healthcare: from injury prevention to rehabilitation. This also includes recognizing medical emergencies and providing first aid care.

Prior to assuming a coaching post, I remember taking a basic first aid course. It was very helpful as I learned first aid for common sports injuries. I also got to try using first aid supplies, such as bandage, plaster, CPR mask, etc, as well as basic medical equipment like the nurse’s stethoscope that you can read about here at I find the skills very helpful especially that junior teams are quite prone to injuries.

Aside from learning first aid, a good coach must also ensure player’s safety during the training as well as in the game. Some of the duties of the coach include:

  1. Proper planning

To avoid injuries, we need to teach players in the right progression considering the current physical condition and developmental level of each athlete. Regularly evaluate each player’s fitness level and adjust the training to suit their current state.

  1. Ensure proper instruction

The Less Known Role of a CoachDuring the training, athletes should be taught the proper strategies and skills necessary for the sport. For instance in football, players should be reminded to avoid spearing or tackling with the head. This technique is not only illegal but also poses danger.

Coaches should not rush players into learning difficult skills or exercises. The team should be taught in a progression – from simple skills then moving to more advanced skills. Conditioning exercises would also help adequately prepare athletes. Coaching assistants must also be knowledgeable in these strategies and skills.

  1. Teach players of possible risks

Keeping athletes aware of the inherent health risks of their particular sport will help them keep safe during practice and the game. Coaches must also warn athletes of potentially risky conditions, such as faulty equipment, poor playing conditions, and the like.

  1. Ensure a safe playing environment

Make sure the environmental conditions are conducive for playing. Check the humidity, temperature, windchill, etc. Regularly inspect the gym, the dugout, playing areas, and locker rooms for any safety hazards. Identify and address any hazards.

  1. Maintain adequate and proper equipment

Periodically check sports equipment for soundness and safety. Make sure safety equipment is available. This includes first aid kits and basic medical supplies. You can easily purchase pre-packed first aid kits. For the medical supplies, you can check sites like Nightingale Knows where they provide detailed reviews on basic healthcare and nursing supplies and tools.

As you can see, coaches are not only busy thinking about their next game. Ensuring the safety of their athletes is a less-known role that spectators hardly ever notice. I’m pretty sure sports coaches out there would be able to relate to me on these.

Sports and Your Mind

Sports and Your Mind

Oct 18

For as long as we’ve had sports, we’ve had philosophers that tried to capture exactly what sports mean to us as humans. The ancient Egyptians believed that sports were a way to worship the gods; dance and exercise were honoring to the deities that watched from above. Plato believe that sports were tied to morality; that it was impossible to be a truly moral person without being in shape or at least taking care of your body.

Although I can’t speak to a single truth regarding sports and morality, I will say that our minds are very connected to the sports we play. For example, something as simple as doing a few push-ups right after you get out of bed can make your day better. Engaging your body forces your mind to engage as well. Although athletes are often depicted as meatheads who don’t know anything except how to win, nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, many student athletes tend to do very well in school, and are well-adjusted overall.

So What?

You might wonder what this has to do with YOUR life. Why do sports help you? What can they do for YOU? This is a valid question, and can really change how you see sports. The biggest change that you will see when you start to play sports seriously is that of simplification. You will see an increase in your focus and simplicity of your life. One example is that of equipment: I obsessively use one of the best badminton racquet, which was reviewed here at Peak Striker. Why? Because using that particular equipment is part of my routine. They are reliable and I trust them, therefore I wouldn’t even think of using something else.

Routine simplifies my life, because I always know what I’m going to use to play badminton. I am the same with tennis racquets; I always browse the Peak Striker to find the best racquets. This applies in so many other areas of life; find what works for you, and use it! Don’t go around wondering if there is something better. If you happen to FIND something better, use it! But don’t go around wondering.

Another part of your mind that sports will change is in the area of discipline. When I started playing in high school, I had to follow a schedule and always show up if I wanted to stay on the team. Playing a sport can give a disciple similar to the military: you show up and you play if you want to improve. This discipline will continue all of your life. You will find it easier to stick to deadlines and schedules than your peers, because you’re used to hitting set goals and improving.

Sports keep your mind sharp, your life simple, and your discipline intact. Don’t let someone tell you that you’re just playing; you’re working hard and improving your life at the same time. Not many other activities can give the same benefit, so be proud of what you do and keep on improving your mind and body together.

Playing Football Is Safer Than Playing With Guns

Playing Football Is Safer Than Playing With Guns

Oct 20

When reading about the ongoing scourge of gun violence across the United States of America, no-one is sadder than I am. It seems as though where war and international terrorism is concerned, the Americans are always the first to voice their objections, particularly when their own citizens are affected. And where international terrorism is concerned, we are not immune either. But even so, thanks to our country’s laws, we are safer than most other countries. Or so we think.

The American conundrum

It is said that hundreds more Americans die each year due to domestic gun violations than through global acts of war or terrorism. The statistics are there to bear this out if you are one of those who don’t believe what I’m saying. It is all true. Not even that country’s president, Barack Obama, is able to stem this scourge. His ongoing call for the repeal of lax laws on gun ownership continues to fall on deaf ears. Vigilant federal law enforcement agencies don’t seem able to stop guns falling into the wrong hands either.

It also seems to be quite easy for depressed young men, bearing a grudge against others, to pick up a firearm or sub-machine gun and head off to a cinema, community town hall or high school and randomly start shooting to kill innocent boys and girls. Sadly, it is all very strange for this young life-skills coach to comprehend in light of America being one of the most progressive nations on earth.  Even in less-developed nations, gun ownership laws are stringent and heavily policed.

Thank goodness for football

In extreme cases, severe punishment awaits those who choose to illegally obtain an unlicensed firearm. But usually, particularly in advanced democratic nations, those who wish to keep guns and rifles, mainly for sporting reasons and as collector’s items, have to abide with laws that ensure that everybody remains safe. And according to Top Gun Safe, one of the most salient rules is that all responsible gun owners store their weapons away in a secure gun safe.

No matter who you are in the world today, teacher, parent, youth leader or community activist, rich or poor, you should always be teaching youngsters not to play with guns. In fact, we should be teaching the youth what sort of effect heavy tools can make if used wrong, especially guns. Responsibility is key. Thank goodness for football, though. Greater Manchester has had its fair share of problems over the years. But I’m happy to say that the tide turned for the better a number of years ago. Every year, more and more youngsters are finishing school and going on to get a decent university education.

Scarves and songs

And when our youth are not busy studying or doing a weekend job, the only bit of warfare they have an interest in is that of the beautiful game. Whether they are supporting the Sky Blues or the men in red, the only weapons they carry with them to the stadium are their scarves and an armory of songs.

Unwind your mind and body and enjoy life

Unwind your mind and body and enjoy life

Jul 24

The fast-paced life we live in compels us to work 24/7 without a moment of relaxation. The endless workhours, weekend partying, and socializing can take their toll on your mental and physical health, Regardless of how desperate you are to complete your office or personal work, you need to have some time off to unwind or relax.

Even in our exhausted state, we tend to be drawn to activities, which drain us more. The protests by our bodies falls on deaf ears. But if you don’t relax you can very well say goodbye to all the physical activities you had taken up and the money you have saved slogging at work. When overstressed you cannot concentrate and you’ll be more prone to diseases such as hypertension, stroke, diabetes etc. I always tell my crossfit clients and football team that while physical exercise and practice is must to reach their goal they also should learn to unwind. When you let go of the stress you can feel relaxed, recharged, and refreshed. Here are some ways to realize this

Breathe for life

This is by far the simplest and shortest of activities and gives ultimate restorative effect too. Take deep breaths and as you inhale and exhale, the pause that occurs between is a break that is inbuilt in your body and helps to keep the body in balance. The deep breaths help you relax and feel refreshed.

Attend to your needs

Attending can take any form. Just as you tend to your home by washing the windows, cleaning the sheets, dusting and decluttering you need to tend to your body with a hot bath, an oil massage or anything else that keeps you relaxed and feeling good.

Some like to take a walk as the sun sets or rises. I like watching the fish move about in my home aquarium. It is a huge one and I take meticulous care in maintaining the aquarium clean and functional. I’ve bought a keen canister filter for this purpose from Watching fish is a very relaxing habit that helps you get rid of stress easily.

Unwind your mind and body and enjoy lifeKeep a journal

Writing the various happenings and events that occur during your routine day helps to relax especially when you are passing through a rough phase. It can be just a couple of lines about your day or a detailed one, if it helps you relax you can take it up regularly. But if you find this being added to your long list of to do things it is better to skip it.

Clear your mind

It is difficult to relax when your mind is on a hundred things at a time. Sit down for a few minutes, make a list of the things you need to do and in the right order. Leave the rest for the next day. Find out the things in the list that you have control over and those that you don’t.  If you don’t have control, it is better to let it go. But if you do wield control, it is better to do as much as you can and then move ahead.

Let’s Talk About Football Tactics

Let’s Talk About Football Tactics

Sep 16

Though Germany may have won the World Cup in 2014 and professional level Football may be over until the weather begins to warm up once more, people are still going to play Football in every corner of the world. It could just be the most popular sport on Earth, so there’s no surprise at all in that. Sadly, while many people love watching Football and playing it through various video game consoles and computers, it seems that just as many people have no idea how to even physically dribble a ball, let alone play the game on a competitive level. If you don’t mind, let’s talk about Football tactics for a bit.

Basic Attacking

To defend and stop opposing players from scoring goals is good, but the ultimate goal in Football is to outscore an opponent and walk away from a game with a win, rather than a draw or loss. There are factors outside of the players’ control, like the position of the scoreline, which have positive and negative effects on a team’s push to get a goal. There are a few commonly used team styles to consider.

Football Based on Possession

Passing the ball and keeping the team moving has always been a major element of professional Football. You can observe this practice even in minor leagues, as well as at schools and colleges with Football programs. If you or a teammate has the ball, then the opposing team does not – you are the aggressor and they, the defenders, exerting effort to stop you from scoring rather than to ruffle your net themselves.

For those who do not understand the game, this practice of constantly passing the ball can look downright boring. That’s a major complaint about Football in various corners of the world. However, those who groan the loudest about this are only demonstrating their ignorance as to the game of Football. Teamwork is essential in this, as well as other games, and a winning team must be able to play effectively. While you may kick the ball back and forth between teammates, your opponent must approach to steal, and keeping them moving more often than not will undoubtedly diminish their stamina over time.

Football Based on Defense

While the team controlling the ball is attacking, the opposite side is defending, and you cannot hope but to switch between these two sides several times during a game. Even on a good day, it can be difficult to clear 11 defenders and score a goal.

Keeping in your own half will make breaching and mounting an attack seem easier, but if you keep a couple men ahead in the pitch, you can snatch away the ball while the opposing team is committed to attacking. A successful steal while utilizing this pattern will allow you more through ball opportunities, and give your strikers fewer defenders to contend with on the opposite half if you are able to get the ball.

Making Plays

Offense and defense are fairly straightforward in Football. However, coming up with the right field setup and plays to make the most of the times you are attacking and defending is something that takes lots of experience, as well as research into tried-and-true, as well as upcoming methods which work well. I think it’s better to develop these skills in real sports, not in virtual games like you might play on some video game console or computer.

Winning a Football game is hard work, and that work starts long before a team of players takes to the field. You might want to celebrate winning by throwing out a party, in the event you’re able to overcome an opposing team. Losses are nothing to celebrate, but if you are recording the games in which you play, they will yield more information about what your team is doing wrong and where it can improve than a game won can ever show.

As for making the plays, I was recently in Brazil and I learned a few nice moves from veteran coaches there myself. Let me outline a couple here for you.

Man-to-Man Marking

This might be more readily apparent to those who have been playing the game longer, or those who watch lots of other sports. Assigning all 10 active players on your team to one each of the opposing 10 active players (Goalies can’t move, eh?) ensures that every man has someone guarding him. If you’re working with a knowledgeable coach who understands your team’s strengths and weaknesses as well as the opposing team’s, than this type of play can help you to regularly beat out your opponents and leave them struggling just to keep up.

However, there is a flip side to this one on one marking. For example, if you were to assign a slower man to a faster striker on the opposing team, he will run circles around your defender, suddenly making your game more like 10 vs. 11 rather than 11 vs. 11. This is not a play style for amateurs, and some studying should be done before a game to make accurate marks and matches.

Utilizing Set-Plays

To take what I’ve just said further, sometimes the team you’re playing against will have a clear cut advantage over your own. If you cannot hope to beat your opponents with skill and finesse, you may be able to take advantage of set-plays to get good kicking opportunities and score on a team, against which you otherwise could not.

This is a relatively common method for sides which are obviously deficient. Exploiting all the free kicks penalty shots, throw-ins and corner kicks you can might just be enough for your team to come out on top, or at least prevent you from losing and allow you to declare a draw, rather than a loss. Haughty players and coaches might call this bending the rules, or regard it as being a poor sport, but like anything else, you must do whatever is in your power to help you and your team win.

Motorcycle + Football = Motoball

Motorcycle + Football = Motoball

Jul 19

I had a surprise encounter with a weird game this summer, a motoball match, when my friend conned me into playing it. Have you ever heard of football being associated with motorcycles? Well Motoball is a game, which involves players riding on their motorcycles and doing dangerous and risky stunts with the ball. For those with feeble minds this is certainly not the sport of choice to watch.

I’ve not played the game before, as it is not that popular in America. It is however a well-known game in Europe.  You can see many countries with their own national motoball team. I can hear you asking, ‘What exactly is Motoball?’ It is type of soccer but a more violent, cutthroat and hellish version. Russia has some of the best motoball players in the world.

Though initially I’d some doubts regarding the game and its fast pace, soon I got caught in the thrill and incongruity of the game.  My lucky moto boots brought us a win that day and such was the potency that I’m still reeling from the effects of the game. So for those of you who do not know about the game, here is how it is played.

•             The game is held for 40 minutes, which is split into 2 20 minute halves

•             The motoball match uses the same field as a normal football game including the goal posts.

•             There are two teams present with each team having 5 players, namely four motorcycle riders and a goalkeeper

•             When a rider nears a ball, he halts the bike with one foot and uses the other to kick the ball.

•             There are 2 referees to officiate the game and 2 linesmen aid in the process

•             A red area which is a zone where the driver cannot enter is the spot where the goalkeeper stands.

The eight riders can pick up a speed of over 65 miles per hour, while they chase the ball. To play a motoball match, a player should have highly talented maneuvering skills and super-fast reflexes. Sitting on a motorcycle and hitting the ball needs high power and control on the part of the rider. The game has some rules that are drawn for player safety including no smashing of the ball, but these are few compared to the things that the players do leaving them much at the mercy of the game.

The motorcycles used generally have twin shock absorbers and are fitted with some safety additions like chain guards that are fully covered from top to bottom. The edges are rounded and the ground clearance is minimized with a small sized frame to prevent the ball from getting under the bike. Yamaha, BSA C15, Hondas and Bultacos are some of the bikes used for the game. Players need to have strong and sturdy boots with good grip to maneuver the ball around.

Though the sight of grown men riding on motorcycles and going after a ball can look absurd, the game has its own group of fanatic followers and can take you for a rough ride, if you can stomach the bizarre game.