The best coaches will coach their athletes during practice and help make minor adjustments during the game. I had a coach once tell me, “If you go into a game unprepared, we together didn’t do a good job during practice getting you ready.” Games are for adjustments, not for a coach to explain or dictate each action of the game. This doesn’t mean coaches sit down and do nothing during games. However, play-by-play coaching isn’t productive for the young athletes since they aren’t as skilled as adults at multi-tasking information. Over-coaching can paralyze athletes due to too much analysis of their actions and it is counterproductive to what you have spent hours working on during practices. Over-adjusting during games sends a message that you aren’t confident with your team or with the plan that was discussed going into the game.
Develop a training plan that allows you to implement it in practices and make the needed adjustments prior to the games. This allows the talent to absorb the coaching, let mistakes take place and then use practice time to adjust and correct. We must remember we are setting the table for these young athletes’ lives beyond the playing field and they must be allowed to make mistakes and use them as learning tools. Players will be more apt to play loose if they know you will allow them to make mistakes by not over-coaching if they don’t do exactly what is expected. Ultimately, coaches benefit their players by creating the best environment to learn and train, which leads to a more successful program overall.