At our recent holiday program, we had special guests Matt Rowell, Noah Anderson and Trent Bianco attend to help teach the kids a few things.The kids really enjoyed learning from some of the future stars of the AFL. We just wanted to thank the boys for giving up their time and would like to wish them well in the upcoming AFL draft. Good luck boys! (more…)
Over the summer, we received an email from a young lady named Claire. Initially, we thought it was someone signing up their child for a skills session. Well, it turned out Claire wanted to improve her kicking and skills for the 2017 season. Claire has worked with Vince for about 6 sessions, mainly working on her kick technique so she can take back to her local club. As you can see from the video below she made some huge improvements over a small amount of time! Well done Claire, and good luck this season.
Claire was also nice enough to write the following after her experience with Vince and the Vida Team.
Vince is a knowledgeable, enthusiastic and passionate coach. In 6 short sessions, he was able to completely re-program my kicking technique. Vince genuinely believes in your ability and will work hard with you to improve and find consistency in your skills.
Vince uses an open and transparent approach to player development; at all stages of the process, he provided clear, accessible steps and regular feedback. Vince showed me how to use video analysis as an empowering tool to help self-evaluate my technique. He also provided me with a program so that I could continue my development outside of our one on one sessions.
These resources have equipped me with the skills I need to continue fine tuning my skills during the season.
The VIDA team will happily tailor individual or group sessions and are invested in helping you find improvement and reach your goals. I can’t thank Vince enough for the guidance and support he has shown me.
Again, for more information about how Vida can help the women of Footy, please contact us with through the form below.
Congratulations to Matthew Signorello for getting drafted to the Adelaide Crows at pick number 62. Matthew has a great life opportunity which footy has given him, and we wish him all the best.
How did he get there? Matthew, a 184cm tough, quick and athletic midfielder started his junior footy at West Preston Lake Side and then onto South Morang. He also played for Ivanhoe Grammar where he attended school and won this years Best and Fairest. In amongst these clubs, Matthew also starred for the Northern Knights when available and also played a trial game for Vic Metro. After being over-looked for the National Championships this year, Matthew continued to work hard and this may of been a blessing in disguish as he really stood out at TAC Cup level and School Level, catching the eye of Adelaide recruiters. All of the clubs Matthew has played for have contributed a huge role in the development of him as a player, and ultimately got him a chance in the AFL.
How was Vida Involved? Vince Dattoli has played a large role in helping Matthew get to where he is today. After meeting Matthew as a 12 year old back in the West Preston days, Matthews father asked Vince to do some individual work with him to help in his development. Vince worked with Matthew and suggested some other strength and conditioning training as well as skill work. Vince has also done some boxing work with Matthew to increase his strength and improve his toughness which has become a real asset in his game.
Here are some of the stats of Matthew from the Adelaide Football Club Site.
Signorello was the third onballer selected by Adelaide, joining Jordan Gallucci and Myles Poholke. The Club also bolstered its key-position stocks by drafting the versatile Elliot Himmelberg.
Club: Northern Knights
An energetic midfielder, Signorello played most of the season for Ivanhoe Grammar but averaged 23 disposals per game in eight TAC Cup appearances with Northern Knights.
After the draft Vince stated that “I am really proud of Matthew” and that “he worked really hard and maximised his talent”.
Skill Development and Vida – As previously mentioned, much of the recognition of Matthews success has come from himself and the clubs he has played for. However, the extra work on his skills through Vida definitely helped. The main components work on with Matthew were;
- Kicking efficiency
- Kicking accuracy
- Strength through boxing
- Quick decision making with fatigue
- Mental toughness
All these skills and more make up the core principles in our Skill Development Sessions that Vince and Sav Rocca run. All players are welcome to get involved and work on their game and maximise their individual talent.
Does positive youth development have a place in football coaching?
From coaching, parenting and players there is a growing interest in bringing learnings from positive psychology to the sports field. Before we talk about how to facilitate positive sports environments though, we need to address the issue of why we should do this in the first place. Should coaches even play a role in facilitating positive youth development? Should they build character in their young athletes as well as technical skills? After all, coaches are primarily (and in some cases solely) trained to impart knowledge that leads to game competence (e.g. learning new technical and tactical skills, game awareness and fitness), not psychological and social skills.
A 2011 study from University of Wollongong on the role of coaches in facilitating positive youth development offers insights into why coaches need to move beyond purely developing game competence in young athletes. The study provides an understanding of the challenges coaches face and the complexities of their role, such as:
- Helping players deal with frustration on the field
- Teaching players how to lose well
- Teaching players how to play in the right spirit, e.g. fair and not dirty
- Dealing with interpersonal issues on the team
- Teaching players to respect teammates, the opposition and officials and the importance of mutual respect
- Helping players with core life skills such as goal-setting, communication skills, leadership skills and interpersonal skills
- Ensuring that players enjoy their training and matches
- Building confidence, self-esteem, self-worth, self-belief and self-respect in young players
- Creating a culture that cultivates positive team morale, team harmony and team cohesion
- Teaching optimism, resilience, perseverance and forgiveness
In some instances, these issues were deemed by coaches as more important than dealing with technical aspects. They also relate strongly to key areas of research for positive psychology such as: character strengths, positive relationships, resilience, positive teams, positive emotions, engagement and flow. Character strengths include concepts such as fairness, social intelligence, perseverance, optimism, forgiveness, self-regulation, leadership, teamwork, bravery, creativity and love of learning. These can be used in unique ways to address the challenges coaches face. Therefore, positive psychology can provide a rich ground for coaches wishing to apply a solution-focused approach to complex individual and team issues. So, whether coach education provides training or not, some coaches do see themselves as playing a role in facilitating positive youth development. They want to build character in their young athletes as well as game competence skills.
If we accept there is a need for coaches to manage the psychological and social issues that arise in their teams, it raises the question as to whether this is too onerous a burden to place on them. Coaches, after all, only have limited time with their players and often coach education does not equip coaches with the skills required to navigate these issues. Adolescence is a complicated and sometimes vulnerable stage in a player’s development. Would it not best to leave such issues for parents and positive education programs within schools to deal with?
The current direction that positive psychology is taking points towards a whole systems approach. In other words, the education of character and wellbeing in young people should be addressed by whole communities, parents, schools and anyone involved in the lives of young people. Coaches are, therefore, part of the picture. They are, in a sense, role models for young players and should demonstrate the behaviours they desire in their young athletes through their own behaviours. They should also cultivate these behaviours in their players. Programs such as TOVO training do incorporate character building. The key is clearly defining what the desired behaviours are and the ways to develop them. How should this be approached though?
In an ideal world, the identification, development and nurturance of desired behaviours would occur through formalised training programs for coaches. Where coach education falls short of equipping coaches with these skills, initiatives such as the Player Development Project can provide a rich ground of ideas and strategies for coaches to implement. Evidence-based positive psychology literature, especially around positive education can also be useful. A cautionary note should be made though that the science in this field is emerging and not well established.
Coaches need to become conscientious consumers of the science. They should beware of pop psychology literature that is not supported by scientific evidence. The compliment sandwich would be an example of such practice, whereby feedback is given in positive-negative-positive fashion. A 2013 study in the Advances in Health Sciences Education journal bemoaned the lack of evidence to support this technique. The study indicated that students think feedback sandwiches positively impact future performances when in reality this can be quite the opposite. In a learning environment these sandwiches may even be harmful to students’ ability to critically self-assess their performance. It is prudent to approach any method that espouses ratios or generic formulas with caution. Building human strengths and potential is a person-specific and context-specific endeavour, not a one-size-fits-all venture. In essence this means that coaches need a nuanced understanding of what makes individual players tick.
Beyond written resources, coaches can seek advice from qualified sports psychologists (although admittedly this is not a feasible option for many outside of elite settings). Practitioners who holds a qualification in sports psychology and are registered as sports psychologists should be approached (this is not the same as a regular psychologist from a mental health background working with athletes). Some sports psychologists will run short courses for coaches that draw on positive psychology principles. When applying positive psychology to coaching settings, it is important for coaches to remember that they are not qualified to diagnose or treat mental health conditions in their young players; boundaries should be established.
With all of these points in mind, a coach can proceed in selecting areas to explore. The following list is a summary of some potentially fruitful areas to begin. It is acknowledged that many of these have their origins outside of positive psychology, but that the field has contributed to a scientific understanding of their effectiveness.
Where to Start:
- Start to build a language around strengths. Take the free VIA character strengths survey athttps://www.viacharacter.org/survey/account/register (a youth survey is also available). Reflect on how these strengths might help encourage positive behaviours on the sporting field and build performance. For example, forgiveness can be used when a team mate makes mistakes; perseverance can be promoted to remove a player’s focus from failure and mistakes.
- Explore the role of positive emotions. Positive emotions have been shown to broaden peripheral vision. Try building fun and enjoyment into training sessions. Observe whether this leads to any difference in the player’s decision making.
- Get curious about the role mindfulness in sport. Mindfulness plays a role in self-regulation, performance and attention. Phil Jackson’s book, Eleven Rings, is a great resource for anyone wishing to see how mindfulness can be used in a high performance setting. The book also promotes teamwork over individual brilliance. Mindfulness is also attributed to be part of the recent success of the Seattle Seahawks. See more here.
- Learn to write player development goals. Ensure that players always have clear player development goals. These goals should ideally be ones they are intrinsically motivated to achieve, rather than driven by extrinsic rewards such as money, fame, team selection. Clear feedback around these goals should also be given regularly. Sonja Lyubomirsky’s book The How of Happiness contains information on how to structure goals that we are likely to stick to and are more likely to increase our happiness.
- Explore the concept of flow with players. Help them identify when they are in ‘the zone’? When are their skills and challenge in balance? If the challenge is too great, players may experience anxiety, if it is not enough, they may experience apathy or boredom. When their skill and challenge is just right players may experience flow. Their action and awareness may merge, they’ll lose their sense of self, time may either speed up or slow down. This can lead to peak experiences.
No matter where a coach chooses to start, knowing why they are introducing any strategies aimed at addressing psychological or social issues is an important first step. Ensuring that chosen approaches are evidence-based as well as having clear outcomes and boundaries established is also key, especially in the absence of formalised training. Exploring positive psychology can be energising and lead to personal growth, but like an exotic flower its beauty should be regarded with healthy blend of curiosity and caution.