You are using an outdated browser. For a faster, safer browsing experience, upgrade for free today.
  • My records show that I average about 8 coaching sessions a year (31 sessions between July 2015 and August 2018). I plan to make the best of all of them! Nowadays, I am pretty much on top of my technique, however, I still find value in coaching sessions every 2-3 months as often the coach will spot little bits of "technique" that have accidentally crept in when I wasn't looking! I have also used coaching sessions in the run up to major competitions where we will run the session at the competition ground - may be a couple of weeks before the competition - just to get the feel of the ground and identify anything unusual about the background or targets.

  • Home Internationals 2018

    In the run up to the Home Internationals at Doveridge in August (24th & 25th) 2018, here's what I did.

    • 2nd August - Coaching session at Doveridge to look at a couple of technique issues. Nothing major, but a few small changes. I then had 3 weeks for things to settle back down before the competition;
    • 22nd August - My coach came to Doveridge and we shot 4 out of the 6 ranges. No real work on technique, but a couple of minor tweaks due to the idiosyncracies of that particular ground. By the time we had finished, I had shot clear rounds (25 out of 25) on all of the ranges. This was a major boost to my confidence.
  • Plan a head

    My training plan start a year in advance. I find a wall planner really useful. I will have worked out what I want to do that year e.g. make the North of England team, make the Welsh team etc. This will sort out which selection shoots I need to attend (and if there are any clashes). I will also add in the English Open, Welsh Open and the British Open. I also figure in some holiday time too!

    But probably most importantly, it helps me plan my coaching sessions. For me, I have found that it can take 3-4 weeks for any changes made to my process in a coaching session to become second nature. I find this is true even when the changes are relatively minor. After the coaching session, I will write up the changes - this helps me make sure that I remember them and understand them. It might take a week or two before these changes become second nature in practice. Then, I have to work on following them in a competion environment - I often find under the pressure of competition that I revert back to my old process and forget the changes. So if the selection shoots start at the end of May, I plan a coaching session for the beginning of March. Lots of time to work things through and make sure that I am on top of any changes.

    I would be very wary of coaching sessions the day/week before major competitions.

  • Coaching is an important aspect of learning any sport. Making sure that you are probably prepared will help you get the most out of the session.

    When you engage with a coach, you are probably going to spend most of your time engaging with your "thinking" brain. You will be working on hold to position your feet, transfer your balance or hold the bat/club/racket. You will be talking about each of these aspects in turn. One at a time. All the time engaging your "thinking" brain. Then when you practice with your coach, your taking these thoughts and transferring them to your "sub-conscious". Often your performance will go downhill as you are using too much of your "thinking" brain the performance. However, over time these movements get transferred to your subconscious through practice. This is one of the reasons that after a coaching session, I will often go out and specifically practice what we worked on in the session. I find this helps in the transfer process into the "subconscious". After "big" coaching sessions, it isn't unusual for me to write up what I have learnt. I will often share this with the coach as a summary of the session. I find that it helps in the follow up practice session when concentrating on the new skills.

  • Be prepared to learn

    To get the most out of a coaching session usually means concentrating on those areas where you need the help the most. Inevitably, this means concentrating on our "weak" spots. I can't recall the number of times I set off for a coaching session determined to show how good I was, only to spend a couple of hours working on the things I wasn't great at! Sure, I learnt a lot, but you need to leave your ego at home!

    Some people will struggle to get over their ego and they'll only ever go to one lesson. Some people's egos are so great that they will never book a lesson in the first place! Remember never be too proud to learn!

    The key here is mindset. If you haven't read the page on the Growth mindset, then now would be a good time. Those students who adopt a Growth mindset will learn more quickly and efficiently than those students with a Fixed mindset. Those with a Growth mindset will get much more value out of a coaching session than those with a Fixed mind. The mindset you adopt is up to you. Choose wisely!

  • Be coachable!

    Being coachable is not just a willingness to learn. It is a willingness to unlearn and to re-learn. Coachability is a capacity that allows an individual to accept criticism, to acknowledge error and to adapt to new information. An uncoachable athlete is an individual who feels that he/she is never wrong and whenever given any kind of critical feedback refuses to take responsibility for her/his mistakes or failure. Again this is all tied into the Growth mindset.

  • Plan

    It is important to be clear what you want to get out of a coaching session from the start. Is it about work on technique? If so, are there particular issues that you want to work on? Or is it a confidence building session in the run up to a major competition? The approach would be different depending on what you are trying to achieve. This would almost certainly affect where and when you would go the coaching session.

    My advice is that if you want to work on technique and make significant changes, don't do it the week before a major competition. It is just too late. It takes time for new technique to be absorbed and become part of your sub-conscious performance. If you need to use your "thinking" brain to adapt to the new technique, then you just aren't going to perform at your best.

  • Summarise what you have learnt

    When you are concentrating on building your technique, coaching sessions can be quite intense. These sessions can also be quite demoralising if you aren't careful as you end up concentrating on the things that need to be worked on (i.e. your weak spots). Not exactly, a confidence builder! However, a good coach will be aware of this and do his or her best to make the process enjoyable.

    However, I always find it useful to write up what I think I have learnt. I'll usually do this straight after the session while it is fresh in my mind. I find the process of writing up my notes helps the information sink in. Then within a day or two of the session, I will train on my own and work through exactly what I learnt from the session. I find it helps me learn and adapt to the new process.

    I have often shared these learnings with my coach. I have frequently sent them a quick email summarising the dozen or so hints and tips I had picked up. This just reiterates the learnings plus provides the coach with the opportunity to add anything else that I might have missed (as well as correcting any misunderstandings along the way).

  • Record keeping

    For any coaching session, this will often be a useful starting point. So another reason why you should be keeping records! It will help highlight any issues that need work. You'll also be surprised what an experienced coach will pick up from looking at your records. You find more about record keeping elsewhere on this site.

  • Updated: 3/9/20

Further information


There are a number of websites online that can provide more detailed information. I have included a list for you to use as a starting point.


You'll find an extensive list of books included on the Further Info pages. They are all readily available on Amazon.


There are some great TED talks available that cover many of the areas discussed on this website. I have included links to many of them on the Futher Info pages.