In this blog post we help give you some advice and tips when your coaching in colder conditions and how you can keep players warm. Some of these tips will be common sense but hopefully some points will help you consider your session design & delivery. Also think about the conditions and is the session worth it for younger players? Firstly is the surface safe & soft enough to play on if grass.
1. Start with a Fun Warm Up
When coaching in colder conditions, players need to engaged straight away from the start of the session. Plan a fun warm up game that encourages lots of movement to get the heart rate up and a “sweat on”. These fun warm ups typically can be different variations of tag games where there are lots of changes of direction and limited standing still. These can be done with or without the ball and are games that younger players love to take part in.
2. Session Design
Aim to plan a session that works in a fixed area where you can move quickly in between practices. To keep players warm reduce the ‘standing about’ time which can be the case when a coach is setting up a new practise in a different area. Can the coach design a session working in the same area by laying or picking up a few cones? Play lots of games where every player is involved for e.g 1 v 1, 2 v 2, 3 v 3, 4 v 4. Each player will be heavily invested in the game gaining lots of actions and having many touches of the ball. Avoid having players stand in long lines at all costs!!!
3. Session Delivery
Reduce the time players are standing still in one place for longer than 30 seconds. Identify different ways of communicating your message, to get across coaching points rather than stopping the entire practice. You could just walk past a player and ask a question or provide challenges to the practice or game you are playing. Calling players in and having them huddle around for 2-3 minutes will mean player losing their body heat very quickly.
4. Reduce Drinks Break Time
Only stop the session for 30 Seconds – 1 Minute for a drink. Avoid longer periods of time than this to keep players moving and keep them warm.
5. Advise Players to Wear Warm Clothing
There will always be that one player who turns up underdressed in a t-shirt or shorts. Prior to the session, can you remind players and parents of the temperature and ask them to wrap up players in warm clothing, base layers and a wooly hat + gloves. Once players become cold, especially younger it’s very hard to get them warm again. This sounds like common sense but a simple text message or email can really help keep your players warm.
Photos: Joe Dent – Peterborough United Football Club