So as temperatures in the UK and in certain parts of the world drop to freezing or below, coaches will or should be forced to change the way they deliver messages to their players. We have a duty of care to ensure players are safe and healthy during our sessions. These cold temperatures often come at a time where flu and other illness are spreading at an alarming rate. Therefore first of all please consider the benefits to putting sessions and whether a session outdoors is actually needed. If an outdoor session is needed and environment is safe to train, we have to adapt our sessions to ensure they are not only beneficial for player development but also safe for players.
We at Coach Maker+ are here to offer advice on coaching in these low temperatures.
Timing Interventions & Breaks
This will be key in cold weather. If you’re working with a coach ask them to time group interventions and drinks breaks. Little and often will help rather than longer breaks and interventions. If not an assistant could you ask a parent to time them or even better yet give the kids a stopwatch when you start talking! These are great ways to limit what you say and get you really thinking about what is needed rather than rambling on for minutes at a time.
Games Based Practices
Players do not want to be stood in lines watching the ground freeze beneath their feet. Can you plan conditioned games that bring out your topics. If not can you make sure everyone is on the move for the maximum amount of time possible. There is no need in freezing temperatures to fight against the players want to play games.
Planning is key in these temperatures. Having something that the players can arrive to do and keep active is key as players wait for the session to start. This could be a game, football tennis (without headers) or other fun activity which gets the players moving.
Plan Plan Plan
Planning the finer details is key in this weather. Why not plan teams prior to training so bibs can be given out as players arrive. This could save a couple of precious minutes during the coaching session. Another thing to plan for is parents. Ensure they know to provide layers so that players have the opportunity to regulate body temperature as much as possible. Also drinks may freeze or get cold on the floor so providing a place to put them so they don’t get too cold for players to drink is also a great idea.
Short & Sweet
Do we need to train for 90-120 minutes in this weather? Why not shorten sessions and maximise intensity. 60-75 minute sessions of high intensity are just as good as trying to spread out sessions over 90 minutes.
It’s really simple in this weather. Whilst coaches can wrap up in several layers, it’s the kids just surviving through sessions that we need to be conscious of. More game based sessions, less line drills, shorter interventions, planning and setting up sessions to flow are all great ways of maximising time within sessions and therefore the impact on the players.