As coaches we all try to make our training sessions interesting, challenging, varied and relevant. One of the most difficult things a coach has to do is to come up with fun ways to make coaching fun. Year after year we turn up with the best intentions and with new ideas however, many coaches get bored before their players do and the sessions reflect this and the players quickly lose interest.
Coaching should be fun and developing players young and old, is the reason we all do it. Many sports organisations now run coaches improvement courses locally to give new ideas and try to ensure the coaching stays fresh, up to date and interesting. There are 1000’s of coaching books too which clubs can buy for the coaching teams to give ideas and drills that can be adapted for the players you coach. If shared amongst the coaching team these are not too expensive and new ideas can be adapted and shared.
A few years back I was a junior coach at Abingdon Rugby Club. One of the roles I had was as the liaison officer with London Wasps Community team. We had ‘coach the coach’ sessions with Wasps coaches which gave our own coaching a boast as we were learning current training methods from guys who coach a far higher level. We also had them come along and offer one coach to each age group with gave a new dynamic to our players and coaches. This can be replicated in all sports with your local pro team, if there isn’t one about speak to the county board who may be able to get a representative from the National board to get involved. I have seen and heard that England Women’s cricket and England Hockey quite often offer players to go to clubs and do one off coaching sessions.
However, I digress somewhat, the point of this post was to talk a about a specific training aid that can be used in almost every sport. The Hand Held Rebounder Is a great tool that i have personally seen in use at football, cricket, netball, hockey, basketball and even water polo training, all to great effect.
The Rebounder is hand held (bit of a clue in the name of he product, i suppose) by player or coach and the ball is thrown into the net, which rebounds for the player to catch. The degree and speed of rebound can be adjusted by the person holding the Rebounder. It allows the player to work on varying degrees of catch and movement and is one of the best training aids i have seen in use today.
Simple pass and movement drills can be adapted to suit the level of player involved. Football goalkeepers have also found these a useful tool too. The goalie throws the ball out to the Rebounder and this is pushed back at the ball with speed and angle which means the keeper has to make a quick change of direction with feet or choose to dive.
Las week I saw the Rebounder in use at hockey training too. The ball thrown into the net and the coach again pushed at the ball to change the speed and angle which allowed players to work on stick skills, control and movement. It was also used to work the goalkeepers as the net was adjusted to force the goalie to decide to dive or get quick foot movement to cover the ball.
In cricket, netball, water polo and basketball the drills i witnessed all involved pass and movement. The players loved it as it was interesting, challenging and fun. One club had 2 of them and split into two teams to create a game which brought out the competitive side of the players, which again was fun and challenging.
Given the Hand Held Rebounder retails around £21 each, in my opinion every club should buy one for their coaches to use. Clubs who invest in their coaches, tend to produce better players.