The early wake-up call for coaches based in the US was well worth it as Kat Smith shared her perspectives on building your coaching philosophy and taking it onto the training pitch. Kat has worked in the professional in Australia with Melbourne Victory, as well as working at the national level as a Junior Matildas Performance Analyst. She also earned her FFA Pro License last year.
The term "buzz words" came up quite a few times in our conversation. Philosophy is so widely talked about today that we can see short-cuts in so many that look to create it, as well as a serious lack of depth in how we put it into action. Kat's presentation was a masterclass in how coaches can build one that fits their environment and beliefs in the game. Her perspective was a unique one and I have never heard the term "participation" addressed and prioritized in the way that she did. Every culture has now a younger generation exposed to more options, so what are we doing as coaches to attract and retain players to our environment?
Above all however, I really enjoyed how the implementation of Kat's philosophy had the player at the heart of everything. Not just in terms of a PowerPoint presentation, but instead the structure of the session, the way she is empowering the player, and always giving them "opportunities". Again, she defined a term in "opportunities" with more depth and quality that so many environments do. It's not about playing time or getting exposure, but instead about opportunities to learn, opportunities to lead, and opportunities to fail. I felt the individual and collective were so well connected in Kat's presentation and really enjoyed her perspective.
The full interview and Q&A is available below.
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