A NIGHTMARE OF A TRAINING LESSON
The coach arrives in the hall - well prepared with a training program and all. Exited he waits for the players. Will there be as many as he hopes for - maybe the whole team???
There has been no one who has informed him that they cannot attend the training, so all should be there. The first players arrive and when the training time is due about 70 per cent of the team has arrived, dressed and ready. The players are divided into groups and the initial warming up begins with ball games between the groups. The further 2 players arrives, slightly delayed and they are put into the groups. Further 3 players arrives and now the groups are too big and must either be divided into smaller groups and a new games must be started. The coach chooses to change exercise.
Should the coach instead choose to warm up with a named ball game, where it is easy to fill up with late players, he is sure to be told: "That is boring. We would rather play .....". The statement is given by one or two players, who are very confident that the rest of the team fully agrees. If the coach then suggests another game - it could be one of the suggested - he is almost sure that 1 or 2 others with same confidence and with same backup from the whole team says: "That is boring. We would rather play....."
After the warming up the usual questions are asked: "Can we play match-game for a long time today?" or "Can we train... (followed by a line of suggestions, which would demand 4 hours of training time). Fortunately one of the suggestions matches the planned training program, so the coach can inform the team, that they shall practice crossing today followed by the other planned exercises. Some un- satisfaction can be seen on the team. Those, who wanted to train crosses, are only partly happy, as the other exercises were not what they had in mind. The rest are not happy, as their suggestions were not taken. The question regarding a long match-game is repeated in case the coach should have forgotten it.
However some physical training must be done. This immediately results in a lot of complaints and inability to attend because of a sore knee, elbow, head ace and a tough day at school. The nice coach however calm them down and inform the "handicapped" that they attend as much as they are able to. It must be possible to live with the fact that a jump shot lifts the player so high over the floor, that she doesn't trip over a lost shoe on the floor. An attempt to make the players jump higher could of course be tried - for example by using a high jump bar placed 10 centimeters above the floor. But accept that the jumps will be performed with the jumping leg folded under the body and the head of the player hardly rises more that 5 centimeters. (Put a free cell-phone on top of a basket racket and inform that the player who is able to jump high enough to reach it will be the happy owner - but remember to buy cell-phones to the whole team)
The throwing/catching exercises are as usual booooring - they are all able to throw and catch a ball and there is no need to spend time on such exercises. Well - they don't loose so many balls but they do need to move a lot to be able to catch the "precise" throws.
Then it is time for some push-ups. As many times before the coach are informed by some of the players, that they cannot do real push-ups and they want to do it on their knees. That is accepted and the team lies down. Some are doing a really good job performing the push-ups correctly and the prescribed number. In the corner of his eye the coach spots a player, who is doing push-ups on her knees and looks very busy. The impression is however spoiled as the players nose itches and this problem is taken care of by scratching back with one hand while the push-ups are continued on the other hand. Impressing!!!
At last - drinking pause. The players move to the benches, gets a little water and starts chatting. Some of the players do not have someone to chat with and starts calling friends on the cell-phone, which has been left in their bags as they have no pockets in their training suits. When the pause is ended1/2, the coach calls the players together. Some chooses to ignore the call as they have not finished talking together or in the cell-phone. A new call from the coach followed by some whistling makes them arrive. One or two however suddenly remember that they have to go to the toilet.
Now the coach asks the players to get ready to warm up the goalkeeper. "Shoot straight on and not too hard" the message is. With a little luck the first player shoots straight at the goalkeeper. The second player hammers the ball into the corner and looks proud. The coach calls her attention to the fact, that the goal is to warm up the goalkeeper, but that message blows with the wind. It seems that the player thinks: "It was a fine, hard and well-placed shot and the coach does not appreciate it!!"
Now the coach asks the players to shoot at the upper left and right corners by turn. To make sure that the players understand the message, the coach points at the appropriate corners. Then the players start shooting, but after the 3 first shot the row stops. The next player hesitates and asks: "Where shall we shoot???" The massage is repeated and the row continues. With a little luck the whole row finish the shots without the question "Where shall we shoot?" is repeated - however with some breaks because the next shooting player in the row is talking with a team-mate and must be told that it is her turn to shoot.
When all the players in the row have taken their shot, the coach must realize, that about 70 per cent of the shots have been outside the goal and ask the players to give the goalkeeper something to work with in the next series. "We shoot again in the upper left and right corner" followed by pointing arm movements. This time 5 players shoots before the inevitable question again arises: "Where shall we shoot" The row is finished and the goalkeeper was able to reach 65 per cent of the shots. The rest were far out of reach and far away from the goal.
Now the coach gets tough. "If you shoot outside the goal it will cost you 10 push-ups!!!" The series is repeated and the coach gets tears in his eyes of gratitude. 90 per cent of the shots were inside the goal frame and NOBODY asked where to shoot. Well, the had to aim at the upper right and left corner and many of the shots were on the goalkeeper or in the lower right and left, but is was an improvement.
During the exercises a cell phone rings and the whole team gets a hunted look in their eyes and the concentration towards handball vanish for the concentration towards the melody from the cell phone. "Is it for me? Is it a very important message from my girl friend, who wants to tell me that she has found the lipstick she was looking for?" The coach can feel the disappointment at the girls sees a parent or another person in the hall pick up their cell phone and starts talking. In the next break all the cell phones are brought forward to check them for SMS-messages or unanswered calls. It could be that the phone has ringed and was not heard.
"We are going to practice cross and are in need of a couple of defense players!" All the players start examining the walls, the light in the ceiling or the pattern of the floor. There are many things, which are more interesting than being a defense player. 2 are brutally pointed out and slowly they move toward the appointed spots and the training can start. The defense is told not to defend 100 per cent - more likely 40 per cent, as it is the first time the cross is practiced. This is translated by the defense to their understanding and it chatting or worse - sits down and starts chatting. The coach considers placing a couple of cones instead, as these at least doesn't chat. The problem is however that the team prefers to train against a live defense rather than cones (however as long as they are not the defenders).
The cross starts to work and looks reasonable - most players are running in a nice fast speed and the defense has been changed a couple of times. The defense is not told to defend 100 per cent. That helps - the arms are raised - there is not so much chatting and the defense has even started to move sideward!. The shots hit the goal and the players are convinced that the cross will be very valuable when they use it in a match.
The next item is an attack exercise, which involves both backs and the playmaker. To be sure the coach receives a reminder: "Are we going to play match game soon??" 3 players are appointed and the rest are told to watch and listen carefully. The exercise is gone through with the 3 players - right backs assignment - left backs assignment and playmaker assignment. Then the exercise is performed walking and then with a little more speed. "Are everyone aware of what to do???" "Yeah - Yeah"
It soon turns up, that every time the players switch place, the running path must be explained again and again. Of course one or two of the players informs the coach, that the attack exercise won't work. "The defense can just count correctly and cover the shooting player!!" An attempt to explain to the players, that even national teams often don't count correctly and let the shooting player break through does not have any effect. They would not count wrongly and it is very easy to cover the attacking player.
Now the coach informs the player that the next exercises are about defense. Now the team is nearly revolting. "THAT IS BORING!!! We would rather play match game!"
Finally match game. After a hard battle about who are going to wear overall blouse the match can be started at last. The players with the sore knees, elbows, headache and tough day have obvious had benefit from the training. The problems are gone, and if they in the start were unable to bend the knees they are now able to run, feint, jump and change direction.
Unfortunately there are more players present than the 14, who are allowed on the court, so some have to be on the benches. The game is started and after about 3 minutes the substitution players starts asking when they are going to play. The question is repeated every minute, but the coach knows that if he picks out a player within the first 10 minutes of the game, he will be met with a protesting howl from the picked player(s). They have just started!!!! But replacements must be performed. The worst problem is to give the wings a break - especially right wing. The substitution players want to play, but NOT the wing positions - they would prefer the backs or playmaker position. This problem however can be solved by pointing out that the team then has to play without wings if nobody volunteers.
The substituted players are very patient and wait for about 2 minutes before they inform the coach, that they are now ready to enter the court again. With a little luck the coach succeed in making the players on the court try the crosses, they have practiced. They worked in the training but now it don't work???? The reason might be that the defending team breaks the math rules and covers 140 per cent against the crosses. One or more of the attack systems are tried and sometimes it can be stated, that it is not just the national teams who are unable to count correctly in the defense or forget to cover the shooting player.
Then the training is over and the team is gathered for stretching and warming down. The time is spent by giving information to the players and to hand out notes - knowing that he will later be met by the statement "That I have never heard about or seen" Some of the players have that opinion that stretching is unnecessary and ask whether they must leave now. The importance of stretching after a training lesson and warming down has been explained before in vain and in order to avoid charges of kidnapping they are allowed to leave.
Soon the hall is cleared and the next team starts their lesson. The coach collects forgotten notes and knows that next time there will be several players, who never has received any information or notes. All the talking and chatting during the training lesson also make him consider dropping outdoor training. The risk of getting their tongues sunburned are too high as sun block tastes awfully.
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It is my sincere hope that no coaches and trainers have experienced the above-mentioned training lesson, but I am convinced that if they think back, they can recognize most of it. With a little luck such a team can be brought to a state where it can work reasonably - but remember to match the demands to the players with the clubs opinion. If you are too demanding and the weakest players stops or reverse - and the strong players stops - the clubs opinion and attitude must be clear. Most clubs have that opinion, that there must be room for everyone, but that might turn up to be difficult for some smaller clubs. A whole team consist of players, who wants to get professionals and demands a training for that purpose, players who wants to be better and learn and players, who just attend to the training to play some handball. If you have enough players to divide those into 3 groups - "professionals", "attentive" and "free time" players, it is fairly easy, but if the whole team consists of 12 players of all kinds you really have a problem. Too hard you loose the week - to soft and you loose the strong - in the middle you loose players at both ends.