Coaching creativity is seen as a tough task sometimes as it is an area where although coaches recognise the importance of ‘creative players’, they aren’t fully sure on how to create them.
My Masters dissertation was based on creativity in football, specifically in youth players in academy settings and it was interesting to see that all of the participants in my study wanted creative players but were either restricted in their planning/delivery or didn’t align their practices to their aims of creating creative players.
So… how do we create them?
Well… the participant information in my study had similar common themes, and this is coupled with other research into the area which outlines the following key components of creating creative players.
Creating a positive environment where players and staff enjoy being there without a fear of failure and allowing everyone the opportunity to enjoy football is a key ingredient in creating creative players.
Allow for mistakes:
Want to create creative players? Don’t worry if they make a mistake – instead, encourage them to try it again but guide them on the the problem.
We all know there’s a time and a place for autocratic, direct coaching but if you want to create a creative player, be more open and democratic and allow players their chance to offer their thoughts and opinions. After all, they’re the ones playing the game!
Guided discovery to Problem Solve:
It is vital for a player to solve problems in order to become a creative player, so set tasks and challenges and within small boundaries, allow them to find the answers.
This links back to the democracy of your environment. Encourage an open, inclusive setting.
It’s good to be different. Embrace it.
These key components can be utilised and encouraged in any setting and it is important to ensure that the feedback is also positive within the environment. There are times when there may need to be corrections, boundaries set and instructions to follow but where possible, in specific areas, encourage the difference maker and maybe you’ll start to see more creative players in your teams.