By Tom Arnold
During these uncertain times it is easy to forget that a lot of sports coaches have to work in limited space once sport resumes. This got me thinking about the challenges I have been having coaching Harrison in the back garden. Although we have managed well, there always challenges due to limited space!
As coaches, once we are all back coaching at our clubs or school environments sometimes the space we coach in can be part of a larger pitch area or part of a training court where it is impossible to run sessions involving goals or sessions that need half a pitch or more.
For some coaches it becomes a weekly battle to adapt sessions to a smaller space so the players get good practice in all aspects of the game.
Often in game-based situations children will find little space to work in, and they will struggle to keep possession when surrounded by opponents. Playing games in tight spaces helps players to prepare for this.
Using football as an example, Elite football players like Neymar will ‘comfortably’ hold onto the ball whilst surrounded by opponents. This would indicate what kind of coaching sessions and practice he enjoys.
So it is not always a negative having small areas to train in. The other positive aspect of small areas is that the coach is very close to all the players involved, so the coaching point is a lot easier to get across and group discussions are far easier to achieve.
Planning for this is vital so the coach must understand the coaching point and explain to the players what he/she wants to achieve from the practice. Without both coach and the player-understanding, the benefit of the small space is lost.
Of course, there are big downsides that coaches will find when they have a small space to work in.
Difficulties when coaching in tighter space:
My Top Tips for Coaching in Small Areas
We are passionate and motivated to making the difference, and allowing all children to be the best they can be in their chosen sport. We value the importance of providing enriched opportunities that inspire and motivate both boys and girls, providing both intermediate & advanced learners pathways into broader participation, club or academy environments and future employability.