When I first started out coaching I was also a full time high school student, so I only coached on average three and at most four sessions a week for a total of six hours. So as I prepare for a 30-hour work week coaching job (to no fault of my employer as I knew what I was getting into when I took the job) I'm wondering if there's an optimal number of sessions per week that a coach should be coaching to allow themselves both the experience and the time to reflect on their coaching and how to improve it.
One of the first coaches that I worked with is now academy coach at Nottingham Forest and also coaching for private companies. In our conversations he often mentioned how coaching 15 sessions a week has limited his ability to reflect on sessions, how it made him feel a bit burned out and that he needed to get away from football for a while. Keep in mind that this is a professional football coach who has been involved in the game on a full time basis for the past three years!
I can't help but think of how I'm going to find the time to reflect and review on myself when I am coaching 20 sessions a week. The entire basis of the USSF coaching system with mandatory time between licenses is to allow license holders to gain experience, apply what they've learned and reflect on their progress before moving onto the next level of qualifications. But isn't it just counter productive for coaches to coach so frequently to a point where they no longer have the time to reflect on themselves as a coach, and thus defeating the purpose of the gap in time set between coaching licenses by the USSF?
It would be interesting to see how many sessions the likes of Mauricio Pochettino and Slaven Bilic coach directly per week at the highest level of professional football. Granted they have more responsibilities than just coaching, but knowing how much they directly coach per week would give us a clue about the optimal work hour!
About the Author
Bao "Terry" Cao is currently a coach at Manchester United Foundation and the FA Development Centre for girls. Terry is licensed by both the FA and USSF. He shares his personal experience of being involved in youth soccer as both a coach and an outside viewer.