In the upcoming inaugural issue of The Journal for Soccer Coaches, NSCAC Technical Director Tony La Ferrara has contributed a thorough overview on the advantages of decision training over behavior training and how this develops flexible thinking in players. Here is a brief excerpt from his contribution:
“What type of coach are you? A Behavior Trainer or a Decision Trainer?"
Some coaches will probably feel uncomfortable with this methodology because they are accustomed to conducting practices in a very direct manner, controlling all possible aspects of the training session. Behavior Training practices are easier to do, obviously, and will make coaches look better in practice. In addition, this traditional method often leads to quick improvements in the short term and produces an artificially high level of performance that gives coaches and players an immediate (false) sense of accomplishment.
One of the biggest benefits to players when using the Decision Training approach is that it will also develop Flexible thinking skills. When kids engage in flexible thinking, they’re better able to cope with change and new information, both within the classroom and on the soccer field. Kids with weak flexible thinking skills are more rigid in their thinking and struggle to take on new tasks and have difficulty solving problems.
When kids develop flexible thinking skills they are better able to solve problems, engage in positive peer interactions and focus during training. When they learn to shift their thoughts in the face of new information, they can work through change and transitions. It takes time to develop this important skill set, but it helps kids thrive for years to come. Kids who are able to think about a problem in a new way engage in flexible thinking, while kids who get stuck in their ways tend to engage in rigid thinking. Guided discovery is an excellent tool that coaches can use to develop and promote flexible thinking skills.
Flexible thinking coaches will inspire, encourage and stimulate players to become flexible thinkers.
(To read the full article, join the NSCAC now and you’ll receive FREE the Spring issue of The Journal for Soccer Coaches)