Remote Coaching – Ben Caldwell

Practical advice on coaching from a distance

BadmintonandyIn the last few weeks, there has been a unique situation for coaches, who are unable to work with their players due to social distancing restrictions amid the COVID-19 crisis.

However, there is hope, using modern technology and creativity will allow us to find solutions.

In this post, I will offer some advice from my experience gained since they closed all sports facilities in Germany on the 16th of March until the present (16 April 2020)

As a coach, the balance between wanting your players to be autonomous and to follow the advice is a key debate, even more so now under these restrictions

Badmintonandy
How to encourage autonomy and offer guidance

Now is your opportunity to develop confident autonomous, individuals. Your aim is to have your players think by themselves within a framework that you feel comfortable with.

Its always been my core belief that we need to assist players so that they can manage themselves, make decisions (they don’t have to all be correct), create plans and strategies.  All this will initially be managed by you in a subtle strategic way.

Players must feel that they can and are able to be independent people with their own thoughts and viewpoints.  Especially during this lockdown you need to be confident as their coach that you trust them to manage themselves safely and effectively.

Encourage autonomy

We all know the benefits of having self-motivated autonomous athletes but how can we develop this in the current situation?

  1. Set creative tasks – Set your players a challenge.  Asked them to plan a stability session to share with the group.  Or, analyse a video that you’ve sent them, using the worksheet that you normally use.  With a video analysis task, you can broaden their skills at analysing the game which will allow them to become autonomous.
  2. Give them a broad plan with flexibility for their own ideas. With this, I refer to physical training.  If you set a periodized weekly plan but also give them a choice of sessions within the plan they will take more ownership.  They need to asess themselves every morning and decide on their plan for that day.
  3. Introduce role models that they can follow independently.  It’s important that your players seek information from any sources.  These are some of the people I recommend that they investigate

BadmintonandyChris Herria (Cool strength training)

Tom Merrick (flexibility and mobility)

MadFit (Stability)

Victor Axelsen (Professional player role model)

Badminton Family (Technical advice)

Athlean-X

Offer guidance

In an ideal world, players would know how to develop themselves and coaches could sit back and watch. In reality, there are so potential speedbumps that are best avoided!

  1. Send a weekly structured plan – organising their day at home can be very difficult for young players who are used to being at school. Making a structure for the day really helps. Example – morning stability – school work – afternoon running session.  Plus, some players need more structure than others.  Do you know your players that well to identify which need you will prompt.
  2. Use social media – send motivational videos. Use Zoom or a similar platform to have group training online ie. Core training or Tabata sessions. Follow up on the creative tasks using individual Skype calls or Zoom group sessions.  Why don’t you workout with them following their plan 🙂
  3. Promote good role-models. Mobilising the parents as key role models is especially important with the youngest players until age 13-14 when players can be a lot more self-guided.  People to follow on YouTube ie. Chris Herria (Cool strength training), Tom Merrick (flexibility and mobility), MadFit (Stability), Victor Axelsen (Professional player role model), Badminton Family (Technical advice), Athlean-X, and many more.

My hope is that through these difficult times players will increase their internal motivation and ability to take charge of their own learning

Perhaps a naïve hope is also that they come back to training in the future with a greater desire to train and an appreciation of what opportunities they have available to them.  If this happens, I promise that you and them will enjoy the sessions far more and maybe the environment changes in a positive way.

A final wish would be that they increase their appreciation of the importance of the coach-athlete relationship that is a key part of their development in their normal training.

Let’s get back on court soon! 🙂

BadmintonandyBen Caldwell is an English Coach currently working in Hamburg, Germany.

He role includes works an as Assistant Coach to the German U19 Squad and Project Leader for the German U19 Players

 

 

Previously Ben worked for Badminton Ireland and the Catalan Badminton Federation

 

2 thoughts on “Remote Coaching – Ben Caldwell

  • April 15, 2020 at 8:24 pm
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    really nice write up!

    “My hope is that through these difficult times players will increase their internal motivation and ability to take charge of their own learning” I think this is key in these times and really like this thinking. Certainly ambitious but we should be thinking this way .

    I do believe there is potential room to consider when the point comes to place an intervention as a coach.

    In the UK we are entering the 4th week of lock down and I certainly can sense a huge dip in willpower following the bank holiday weekend. This is the time to start creating ” way power ” ( so offering a way to achieve a goal ) or even a period where we monitor much closer whether people are doing what they should be doing.

    Rexy Manaiky, has taken things for his Thai team to another level and has provided them with smart watches and they have to upload their daily activities.He is is anxious about injuries for when they return.

    See you hopefully soon at the next u19 International !!

    all the best ,

    Jurgen van Leeuwen

    Reply
    • April 16, 2020 at 3:18 pm
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      Thanks for the message. Yeah tough times. I get the feeling though that its making people a bit more open, united and wanting to share ideas which is nice.

      Yes it it was quite hard for most players to get going again after the long weekend break. The ones doing the best are those that just keep going and don’t stop.

      Tracking the players training is a really big challenge for sure. I am also trying to do this via free apps like the addidas Runtastic free download which you can track some basic information about their running sessions. Not always easy with teenagers though 🙂

      Great point regarding injuries. We will have to be very careful coming back slowly with training volume and intensity.

      Hope to see you at a tournament soon!

      Stay healthy.

      Ben Caldwell

      Reply

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