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.