Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Lion’s Den Blog  
What Talents are In Front of You?
To be a creative coach you have to broaden your definition of talent. You will have players in your team who can spot a pass and deliver a 40-yard ball flawlessly into the path of a team-mate. You will have players whose touch is velvety smooth, players who glide by the opposition, and players who time a tackle like a concert pianist times the notes in a bar. You will also have players who don’t possess that kind of skill but who are gifted with intelligence, a passion for the game and a desire to learn and improve. You will have players who dream day and night about dancing with the ball under the lights in the best stadiums in the world – and commit wholeheartedly to developing the brand of game that allows them to eventually do so. These players have mindset talent. There are players you must cherish as much as those with tricky feet. Players with fast feet so often trip up in the mid to long term. Mindset talent can win (and probably will win) over time.
The creative coach understands that talent comes in two forms – physical and mindset. He has an expansive definition of talent. He then spends himself in a worthy cause – he strives to develop the talents he has in front of him. If he does any labeling he labels what talent each individual has. He doesn’t label his player either talented or talentless. To him being talentless doesn’t exist. That’s a fiction he can’t abide. Once he is clear about different talents different individuals possess he quietly, gently, carefully builds on the abilities his students have.
As a creative coach I’d like you to take a little time now to think about all of your players. Where do their talents exist? Do an audit of your players as individuals and as team-mates. Resist the urge to criticize your players. Simply look deep inside your mind to expose the talent that is displayed explicitly and implicitly in front of you week in week out. You ask for intelligent form from your players, so demand insight from yourself.
This isn’t a mind-reading exercise. Mindset talents manifest themselves behaviorally. They can be seen and heard. They can be distinguished from their physical counterparts.
Here are some examples:
·        The player who remains unflustered after making a mistake
·        The player who is audible before and during the game
·        The player who is quiet but offers a physical presence
·        The player who listens attentively
·        The player who asks questions
·        The player who stays behind to do more
·        The players who simply looks determined
·        The player who has fun
·        The player whom follows a mistake with determination
·        The player who watches soccer like a student
·        The player who can speak of set plays
·        The player who doesn’t stop running
·        The player who stops running to play intelligently
All of these (and many more) are behaviors related to mindset talent that can be checked and logged by a coach and used to speed the journey towards excellence. Players who display these behaviors may not execute the game as well as some – but I urge you to be mindful of their importance. They can release excellence in technique over time.
A personal investigation into your players’ talents amplifies your creativity because it opens up a new line of coaching enquiry – “How can I magnify the talent this players has so other areas of her game improve?” is one question you might ask yourself. Finding the answer carves the creative coach.

‘ The Coach who understands the talents of his players can accelerate the learning process’        

Like physical talent, mindset talents are a product of birth – but these qualities can be made. They can be nurtured and developed. Some soccer players are naturally more focused, confident and determined than others. But others have to grow these attributes, just as certain players have to spend more time working to improve their passing, shooting and dribbling skills. This is dedicated to helping you improve player mindsets. There will be a range of techniques that you can dedicate towards developing mindset talent.

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