Whose Ball Is It?

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Every coach must have a game concept or a game vision or a game style.  There are many ways to describe it, but ultimately it boils down to how they want the game to be played.  In this game concept, every player must have a role that complements every other player.  Every action should have a specific goal and be linked with the preceding and following actions.  Every player’s action should be coordinated with each other player’s actions and linked with that player’s preceding and following actions.

If the coach has successfully developed their game concept then there is always a ‘right’ player to play the ball.  The ‘right’ player is not (necessarily) the closest player, or the most skilled or the one who calls loudest.  The coach must practice and provide feedback on their game concept in exactly the same way as they would for technique or tactics.  That feedback must be specific.  Short term solutions that compromise learning must be resisted.  “He didn’t call!” is not an acceptable response for the wrong player playing the ball.  Sometimes the ball has to bounce untouched for the lessons to be learned.

The ‘right player’ is the one who by playing the ball, best serves the structure of the team and the situation of the game.  Only that player should play the ball.


A collection of 50 Coaching Tips can be found here.

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