A very good friend of mine, Tom Shutt (@TomNU1839) asked me for 3 reasons as to:
"Why have a game model and why is it important to share with the players?"
I didn't even think about the following answer:
'Because it provides a framework for me to coach within. It also provides a framework for the players to play within. It then provides the concept for how 'we' will approach the game and the situations that come with competition'.
I didn't even think, it just came out. That's how much I believe in and live by it. A quick review of my why.
Framework for me.
I think this is the most important because it keeps me accountable to the model we have agreed on. I don't change the focus or go on tangents because we lost or conceded a goal from a corner at the weekend. The important factors for individual development within the team have been considered and will be trusted for the cycle of training. No changes if possible because I am then continuously focused on providing the environment to work on the key aspects of our model for that 3-week cycle.
Framework for players.
I am a huge advocate for empowering players and part of my method for doing so is to invite adaptations to the model pre-post season, as well as continuous sharing of the current cycle expectations and the relative principles within the cycle. The players are included and empowered to lead the practice environment to hold themselves accountable for how we are trying to play in each moment. The players are able to voice the expectations of themselves and their teammates. There are no surprises.
We train to perform, so the game will never look too different from the practice in the build-up or from the way we try to play.
The framework, from above, carries into the game and the team game objectives are focused on our cycle.
Yes, we want to compete all over the field, but our specific objectives are created from the cycle we are in. Is there flexibility? Of course, because various situations arise in a game and we have to be prepared. Do we play differently? Sometimes, but it is all situational and we would have accounted for that in our training environment.
E.G. we prefer not to kick it long from set-pieces like goal kicks or free kicks in our own half, but the opponent presses us hard. It was expected and we have a tactful way to beat that press, which was a part of our cycle knowing our opponent would play this way.
What about winning? Everything we do is with a winning mentality. The theory behind our model is to have as much control over ourselves as possible. To control how we play as much as possible, in terms of known angles and lines of support, expecting creativity, as well as understanding the behavior of the player on the ball and learning their decision making. It takes some attention and letting your players (and their families!) in, but it is worth it.