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Winning vs Development: Which is more important? | Coaching Youth (age 13-18)

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Posted in: Coaching Youth (age 13-18), General Forum

Winning vs Development: Which is more important?

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  • saranicolehilton

    It's that age old debate.. which do you think is more important: Winning or development?

    During the Welsh Football Trust's National Coaching Conference in 2014, Peijn Ljinders (first team development coach at Liverpool FC) said that his philosophy is that 'winning is the direct result of development'. What are your thoughts on this? Does the philosophy on this subject vary between sports?

    This is a subject I cover a lot on coach education courses. It always generates great debate and it's also great to hear the reasons why.

  • CoachFeedback

    Interesting question you pose Sarah & yes one which creates much debate. Through my own coaching experiences with a sport outside the UK & from researching / observing many other programs, I have developed the opinion that if individuals & teams are developed effectively, then winning becomes the direct result from this. My own philosophy is that Development should be the key focus for individuals & teams below senior levels of sport.

    Learning to compete/perform & how to compete/perform is all part of the development process. The game performance gives us an indication as to whether we are improving or not & highlights areas that we need to focus on for further development.

    As coaches our main job is to try & provide an environment where individuals & teams can develop & improve with the aim of reaching their full potential. Sometimes the ability of a group may not be to a level required to win games. When this happens does that mean we stop coaching?

    Yes at the highest level of each sport there should be a strong focus towards winning as that is the pinnacle of each sport. At all other levels I believe the focus should be on individuals developing themselves in preperation for the opportunity at the next level above.

  • andrewb62

    I do agree - development over winning, unless, of course, your (the players & coaches') future employment absolutely depends ln winning on Saturday.  Not that winning did much for Louis van Gaal last week...

    But I think the importance of competition bears re-stating.

    On 23/05/16 13:58, Steve Symonds said:

    Learning to compete/perform & how to compete/perform is all part of the development process.

    Absolutely.  Without challenge, there is no sport (or personal development, or art, or science) and little or no development.

    Not "win at any cost" or "grind them into the dust".  Rather  "be better than last time" or "be as good as you can be today".

    The role of the opponent is not (necessarily) to be vanquished (although the players I coach seem generally to prefer at least trying to win...), but to provide the challenge to improved performance.

  • gareth.a.smith

    Winning v development? Always creates a heated debate.

    The context of the coaching is key to the answer (if there is one definite answer). My current coaching context, requires me to focus on the development of individuals within a team sport, as the ultimate goal is to create an elite performer. However, a question I always ask myself and colleagues is at what point does winning become the most important thing. 

    For me creating a competitive environment which encourages winning/a winning mentality but not at the expense of the individuals development is important. It is always extremely difficult to do this and maintain a healthy balance between development and winning. The emphasis on development is always at the forefront of my own coaching, as even the 'elite' performers need to continually develop and improve in order to stay at the top. 

    When does winning become important? In my experience and within my coaching environment winning is emphasised at a handful of one day tournaments throughout our season to introduce players (particularly the younger ones) to the environment of tournament football. However, even in these situations a strong emphasis is placed on the development of players through their enhanced experienced of competitive / results orientated football. The development of the players ability to deal with pressure and manage game situations is key within these tournaments. As these players progress through the pathway and into their late teens, the introduction of competitive leagues and cup competitions ensures that winning becomes focused upon but again not at the expense of the players development or the clubs philosophy/principle/values. 

    My personal view is similar to others who have posted in that I believe success (winning is included within this bracket but isn't the exclusive factor of success) is a by product of development. The key for us as coaches is having conviction in our delivery and having strong core beliefs and values which underpin our delivery. The strength of our coaching conviction will ultimately influence the success of our methods, whether your a 'development' coach or a 'winning' coach. 

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