Harnessing Coach’s Competitiveness

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Competition is essential.  Among other things competition drives innovation.

Coaches are competitive.  Their drive to win leads to advances in training methodology, techniques and tactics.

Competition is destructive.  Among other things competition drives short term solutions.

Coaches are competitive.  Their drive to win leads them to prioritise winning ahead of longer term goals, such as player development.

Organisations, be they clubs or federations, have both short term and long term goals.  Coaches inevitably are focused more on short term goals.

How do we reconcile the short term and the long term goals that are so often mutually detrimental?

Organisations determine their own strategic direction.  Coaches work for organisations.  Organisations determine the working guidelines for coaches.

In order to maximise the competitive drive that leads to innovation, organisations can be well served by not just providing guidelines, but by actively restricting the environment in which coaches work.  Especially in areas that focus on the individual.  Some examples:

  • minimum of x players over ycm tall on court at all times
  • no specialisation
  • no use of liberos
  • reduce substitutions
  • change game rules for juniors
    • no overhead passing
    • no use of the feet

Of course coaches will complain that it will reduce their chances of winning.  But coaches will always search for ways to win, whatever the rules.  The best coaches will innovate and the smartest organisations will benefit from great development.

A collection of 50 Coaching Tips can be found here.

For more great coaching tips, check out the Vyacheslav Platonov coaching book here.


    1. If it is the same coaches who have to deliver the organisational objectives, then that is the sign of a weak organisation.


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