Blog entry #5

Blog entry #5

24th June 2015


Its week 2, day 3, which means we are mid way through our coaching workshop.


Today started off with our usual routine of alarms ringing at 6.30am to get ready for morning workout (which we inevitably snoozed until quarter too). This morning we started with a warm up of 50 lunges, squats and tricep dips and then jumped into our circuit for the final half an hour. This workout has become such a big part of our daily routine, by encouraging and pushing each other to do our best from the first minutes of our day – whether that is actually getting out of bed or to finish those last seconds of an exercise, it gives us the right mentality to approach the day. This was definitely something I didn’t anticipate!


The Level 4 coaches come in at 8.30am to share teaching ideas, reflect from the previous year in their clubs and to allocate responsibilities for the coming day. This extra half an hour with the coaches allows them to feel confident in what we are going to cover in the day so that they can take a lead with the Level 1’s that join us for their workshop at 9am. By using the train the trainer model we begin to build and assist the coaches to lead the course themselves in the future, empowering the deliverers and ensuring sustainability of the projects.


Within the coaching workshop we have found that the language barrier is a lot tougher than what we see in Outreach. This is typically due to the reason that most of the coaches on the Level 1 course tend to be players who have decided to learn to coach for the first time and therefore have been out of a classroom environment for a long time. This means that we have to be on our toes in the classroom and develop flexibility and confidence to bend the schedule and our original plans.


Our Level 4 coaches have also been so crucial to helping with the language barrier. Part of the train the trainer model is to encourage mini-mentoring within their table groups, and allow the older coaches to really get behind the newbies in all aspects. However, this wasn’t something we had to teach, from day 1, it was a pleasure to see our Level 4’s watch and work with their Level 1 counterparts. They jumped in to group discussions, explaining key concepts, providing examples and translating to the three different languages that were present. It was amazing to see the development in real time from someone who had been a level 1 not so long ago into an individual taking ownership of their and others’ learning.


One of our Level 4’s that stood out was Macbeth.


Macbeth first got involved with Sport Malawi in 2013. Macbeths job is working as a coach in the prison within Mzuzu. In this he uses sport, in particular football, as a rehabilitation tool for the young men he comes in contact with. However, in this environment as a coach, Macbeth had utilised a very control and command based coaching style, which although appropriate to his players, had shaped his entire persona as a rather dictatorial coach and focussed his coaching ideas on ensuring his players were fit and functional. One of our core models used throughout the workshops is the four corner model, this teaches the coaches that although skills and fitness are crucial to a players development, these must coexist alongside cognitive and social development. We try and show that in order to be a good coach, and have top players, these players need to be able to use their minds in having the ability to weigh up risks and be confident, but also be able to be a rounded player who can work in a team and support his fellow players. When we first surveyed Macbeth’s sessions he was able to develop skills and fitness, however, as the case with many coaches we come across, the cognitive and social development of his players were not a priority. It has therefore been amazing to see Macbeth develop over the last couple of years, his sessions are now empowering these men, they are working in teams, building relationships and becoming resilient perseverant, skills in a crucial in an environment such a prison but also on any sports filed.


Consequently, Macbeth has also developed incredibly as a coach. Over the last year he has developed an entire football academy from scratch whilst still working at the prison! He now works to self-fund transport for this academy, which is based 40 miles away, focussing to get his players into higher leagues and giving them opportunities to grow. This change in environment has also meant that he has had to change and develop his coaching style away from a solely command style to having the skills to bend and shape this style to meet the needs of his players and coaching environment. Therefore, seeing Macbeth being able to lead, help and teach many of our shyer and more challenging Level 1’s was a proud moment for us as a team!