Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Coaching the Coaches

VFTD is pleased to announce another brilliant idea. I know what you're asking yourself: How does VFTD know it's a brilliant idea? You mean other than it was my idea so it must, ipso facto, be brilliant? Okay. Fine. Because it addresses an issue that impacts every level of competitive paintball--particularly in the used-to-be-called-xball format--from D5 to pro. And I know this from informed observation and years of experience. Heck, there isn't even a uniform definition of the role within competitive paintball.
What? Yeah, that might help. No worries, just the voices in my head reminding me to tell you the subject of today's post is coaching.

Sometime during the off-season last year--late 08 or early 09--I wrote a post wondering if there was a market for team-based clinics aimed at upper division teams looking to improve and continue to move up. (At some point most teams, like most players, hit a wall where they stop improving.) The idea was that player clinics address individual skills and development but that nobody had (has) done much within paintball to address team issues in achieving excellence. [This is normally where I'd put a link to the original post but I couldn't find it. Okay, I couldn't find it after ten minutes of looking and got bored ... so I blew it off.] It seemed to me one way to accelerate the process was to propose a team clinic concept that, if done well, could help teams over the hump or speed up the development process. I also suggested that I would--in a moment of altruistic generosity and devotion to the betterment of Paintball--volunteer to perform this duty if called upon (for a modest retainer & travel expenses.) As you might imagine, the response from a far-sighted and thoughtful paintball community was--the sound of crickets chirping. Fair enough. It's still a good idea. It's also a cost effective option for any truly serious team but whatever.

Similarly, I think a coaches clinic could be very helpful for any coach taking on the role and even those who have been doing it for a while but see room for improvement or are looking for new ideas and methods. All this, btw, is predicated on a definition of "coach" in line with traditional sports definitions--not just the official sideline designated screamer. Although we could begin with the how & why of what the designated screamer screams. (One thing I'm not deficient in is opinions. And I'm almost as good at making up reasons that sound reasonable for those opinions.) A *real* competitive paintball coach needs to be able to teach, train and develop players both individually and within a team framework. And on game day (or match days if you prefer) be prepared with game plans, scouting and evaluation procedures as well as real time play calling and tactical adjustments. [In reality a lot of these functions go unperformed or are handled by different people or by committee. Or the players. In any case--and in most cases--there are organizational deficits and room for improvement whether one person or five are handling the required roles.] Given that definition the purpose of the clinic would be to address all these areas in terms of organizational methodology, practical tips and concrete ways of dealing with routine concerns and perhaps a little game theory for the adventurous.

Now (hopefully) that sounds swell but in reality it's a lot harder to find simply because this aspect of the game is developing in the same way rules, formats etc. are changing and developing. So is coaching. What it means and how it's accomplished. The objective of a coaches clinic would be to take a shortcut that offers coaches the benefits of learning from somebody else's mistakes and successes. Like with the team-clinic idea it's aim is to accelerate the growing process and provide the necessary tools for improvement.

I'm thinking organizing a coaches clinic around World Cup would probably be as close to ideal as it's gonna get so right off I'm a day (or more) late. Hey, couldn't be helped. Next time I'll try to have more conveniently timed ideas. So if the PSP wanted to play a role or even take over and run with this idea I certainly wouldn't object. At any rate I've got nearly a year to work it out and see if anybody is interested.


Missy Q said...

I reckon if your marketing skills matched your coaching skills you would already be spending your weekends jet-setting around the world with Max Lundquist, living every girls dream.

Miller said...

I'll stop the crickets from chirping. Can I volunteer Fierce for the first team clinic? Or any volunteer team clinic held thereafter? You set a date, I'll deliver the monkeys for you to train.

I cant help but if pre-Cup observations of a certain upper-level divisional team inspired this post, or did you catch a glimpse of my Christmas list?

Baca Loco said...

There are two things that have kept me from following up more aggressively. 1--the marketing essentially means promoting myself and I find that vaguely distasteful despite my willingness to jabber away here at VFTD. 2--I'm not all that interested in either the travel or the money and most of the suitable candidate teams are competitors or seem to prefer trying to buy success.

We can discuss it. I'm willing but a few additiona pieces will need to be in place first.

The team idea actually dates back to the first Intercontenental Cup at WC in 06 when the top 4 NXL teams thrashed some CPL reps. At that time I thought there was enough talent and fundamental skill among the Euros that they could be competitive with the right training.

Missy Q said...

I see, so set up 'Coaching Inc'. Promote that, write out the systems/procedures and sign up telford and GP for west & central (you get 20%). That way you are promoting a program rather than your own self.

If teams want to buy success, you'd better make your rates nice & high, because there should be no doubt, from what you have done with Damage, that any team under 'Coaching Inc' Tuition would be 5 rungs higher up the ladder than they were beforehand.
As for competing teams, I think you're aiming at the wrong crowd. The lower division the team is in, the more they need your help, and the more they would be willing to pay for it. I have seen some Clinics that raised thousands of dollars, but taught very little. People were just buying the most expensive autographs ever...