How should Activate be coached to players?

For Activate to be effective, players need to perform the activities with appropriate control, balance, and technique. Coaches leading the programme play a key role in monitoring their players, communicating key coaching points to improve performance, and ensuring exercises are completed with good form.

When beginning the programme or a new phase of the programme, coaches should consider using the following practices:

  • Take some time before starting a new phase to become familiar with the new exercises. This could include viewing video clips of the exercises or reading through the programme manual to understand how to complete the exercise.
  • Dedicate a little more time than usual for the first session of a new phase. This will allow coaches to communicate specific coaching points to players and to check understanding without rushing through.
  • Explaining the purpose of each part of the programme and it’s benefits to the players.
  • Demonstrate the correct technique to the whole playing squad. Using a player to demonstrate allows the coach to talk through the key coaching points for performing the exercise for the whole group to see.
  • Allow the players to have a go at the exercise in pairs or small groups to get a feel for how the exercise should be completed.

Once players are familiar with the exercises within a phase, coaches should begin to emphasise the following:

  • Using a selected number of key cue points specific to each exercise.
  • Prioritising quality over quantity when completing the activities.
  • In older age groups and adults, encouraging players to coach each other if working in pairs or small groups.
  • Watching players completing the exercises and providing constructive feedback to correct technique if required.
  • Publicly praising players that complete the exercises with good control, balance, and technique.

The “Key Activate 8” coaching cues

While each individual exercise has some unique points that coaches should use to instruct their players, there are also some generic cues that coaches can also use that are common across many exercises and will help to coach players in performing the exercises with good posture and control. These cues are referred to as the “Key Activate 8” and include:

  • Head Neutral / Head Lifted
  • Chest Up
  • Pinch the shoulders together
  • Shoulders level with hips
  • Brace through the trunk
  • Soft Knees
  • Hip, Knee, Ankle in Line
  • Knee over Toes

Each exercise in the Activate programme typically includes two or three associated Key Activate 8 cues.