The "Secret Sauce" Of Player Development
The best fly-fisherman I've ever met is named Les Vance (I hope he does not mind me saying). Not only can this guy fish, he is a master caster, builds drift boats and makes the most beautiful hand tied flies I've ever seen. A master of the craft in every sense. He's logged his 10,000 hours for sure. I'm not sure what he's up to today, but there's a high likelihood that he's on a river somewhere teaching the art, showing some fly-fisherman the time of his or her life.
When I began guiding, Les was kind enough to give me some of his hand tied flies to use on trips with clients. He also entrusted me with the formula for a concoction referred to as "The Secret Sauce." T.S.S. was a mixture of white gas, mucilin, and an additional ingredient that must remain well...
The beauty of T.S.S. is that it would make Les' irresistible hand ties - any fly at that - float a little higher and a lot longer than any traditional over the counter floatant. Dunked in T.S.S the best looking flies, appeared just that little bit tastier to any spooky backcountry trout. At times, T.S.S. could make or break a trip with a client. The difference between a big cash tip or an empty pocket. For those of you that don't fly-fish, imagine T.S.S. as a side of aoili. Yes, everything tastes better dunked in aioli. Even the most mediocre side of chips have been given a lifeline by this savory sauce.
How does this relate to training a group of 11, 12, 13 year old footballers?
Like fly fishing, the game of football is inherently tasty - beautiful, playful and fun too. On its' very own, fly fishing is enough. Fly, rod, reel and river satisfies the pallet every time. Just like in football: some kids, a ball, two goals and a pitch has and always will be enough. If embraced in their full complexity, both activities - fly-fishing and football - offer a lifetime of endless flavours.
So where does that leave you, the coach, the secret sauce?
Ideally, somewhere off to the side of the plate. Yes, exactly. Like aioli that is - or Les's T.S.S - do your young players a favour, refrain from the main dish and add some flavour. Be nice and add some spice. The players will be better for it. 100%. You will be too. The beautiful game in its' entirety is delectable as is.
Are you making or breaking your training sessions? Would your players leave you a tip? #TheSecretSauce #BeTheAioli