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    Developing a Coaching Philosophy & Game Plan

    Any Sports Coach worth their salt will have a Sports Coaching Philosophy that underpins everything they do, and every approach they take to the Sport they are coaching. The Sports Coaching Philosophy is what also underpins a Coaches game plan. My first coaching philosophy was two pages in length, and after 18 years of coaching, hockey is now down to one very clear paragraph.

    A sports coaching philosophy should include-

    1. Your values

    2. What your expectation is as a coach

    3. Your standards.

    Now I hear some of you saying how do I get this into one paragraph, well at first when you start out as a Sports Coach, you often don't but in time you learn to say things in a more suck-linked way, and that is how your philosophy gradually reduces in length and firms up as you begin to firm up what it is that you mean and what it is that underpins your coaching.

    My advice to all new Sports Coaches, on developing their philosophy is that you need to seek out that inner coaching voice, you need to be able to relax, and quietly listen to that inner coaching voice in developing your philosophy. I also say don't panic if you can't hear it when you first start out, in a very short period of time you will hear it.

    Once you hear it, then I suggest you write everything down, this doesn't have to be in order either, then gradually piece it together in a way that makes sense to you. Also, don't worry if it's long-winded this will change over time.

    Over the 18 + years I have been coaching, I have slowly developed some basic game plan principles which apply to every squad I take on. And while my game plan as any quality coaches game plan should be doing, is evolving and adapting to the situation/s that your team find themselves in at any particular time, the core basic principles that unpin this game plan will always remain the same.

    So what are my core basic game plan principles-

    1. Everyone can play any position on the field at any given time. (Flexibility)

    2. We attack from defence and defend from attack. (Two-way hockey)

    3. We apply maximum pressure to the opposition at all times. (Constant Forward Press)

    4. We focus on our processes and let the result take care of itself. (Process = Result)

    5. We control the centre of the field. (Control Centre = Control Game)

    6. Where possible we attack through the top of the circle. (Possession = Control)

    So those are my six Basic or Core Game Plan Principles and when you watch any squad I coach you can pretty much see in some form each of these principles in action throughout the game in different forms.

    What do you think, how do you set up your teams do you have principles that you always look to implement with every team, you coach? I look forward to reading your comments and hearing from you, lets get a discussion going on this.