How can a world class international Player become an incredible coach?
That is the question that FIH trainer Darren Cheesman asked at the beginning of the first online session of the FIH Academy Athlete2Coach.
Who Become Incredible Coach?
Together with South African coach Tsoanelo Pholo, Cheesman worked with 10 top players or former players on a program that was intended to support the transition from athlete to coach. The course is part of the FIH Academy’s series of coaching qualifications and focuses very much on meeting the learning needs of international athletes and preserving their hockey skills and experience long after they retire as a player.
While most coaching courses focus on teaching technical and tactical skills at a high level, these are areas in which international athletes are well trained. For these coaches, the most basic trait they need to master is training a skill or teaching tactics to someone who doesn’t have the skills and experience to do so.
At the same time, it would not make sense for athletes who have experience playing and training at the highest level to start as a beginner coach. The Athlete2Coach program enables the fast-tracking of athletes who show the necessary ability to become a good trainer.
Cheesman, a former international from Great Britain and England, pointed out to the coaching athletes: “As an international athlete, you have incredible skills. You are better able to learn very complex technical skills on the hockey field than those you train.
So many times you may find it difficult to understand why someone cannot perform certain skills the way you want them to. The question is whether you can divide the complexity of the skill into steps that you understand, practice, and then bring back to the level you want for something simple. “
Argentinean Lucas Rey is one of the participants in the course. The midfield dynamo was part of the Argentine squad that won gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics. He played a total of 225 games for Los Leones before retiring from international ice hockey in 2017.
“This type of course is very important,” says Rey. “It will help us to see and understand another side of the game than we experienced as a player. It will give us many tools to improve our coaching.
“Skills are easy for us athletes to understand, so it is important that we recognize that we have to teach them properly when we explain to a young player how to do a skill. To do this, we need to understand how coaching works. With the right [coaching] tools, we can share our knowledge and experience in the right way. “
A characteristic of the Athlete2Coach course is the ability of the gathered trainers to exchange knowledge and experience. Since it is an online course, athletes from all over the world can more easily come together for an online session.
A question from the coach educators asked whether there are cultural differences, how basic skills are carried out, and how they should be taught. In the discussion that followed, the athletes’ coaches grabbed their sticks to demonstrate a point, and soon a lively debate was in full swing.
For Rey, a coaching career was probably always in vogue – he’s already been doing physical education in Argentina – but there was a moment when he was still playing when he started to look at the game in a different way. “You look at the skills, tactics, and techniques in a different way – at this point, you know you’re on a one-way street.”
The online course Athlete2Coach is just one example of the many courses offered by the FIH Academy. As an online course, Athlete2Coach eliminates the need for additional trips to the event locations and offers time-stretched athletes an improved opportunity to start their transition from field to side field.
Athlete2Coach Level 1 course candidates: Lucas Rey (ARG), Jonas Verest (SUI), Adriaan Kühn (GER), Eva de Goede (NED), Muhammad Waseem Aslam (PAK), Sebastian Valdas (CHI), Emma Buckley (IRL), Tengku Tajuddin (MAS)