Darcy Norman: Are you a giver or a taker?

Darcy Norman was Director of Performance at AS Roma

Darcy Norman was Director of Performance at AS Roma

DARCY NORMAN says performance staff need to be wary of becoming constant ‘takers’ due to the nature of their jobs.

Norman is a Performance Strategist at Kitman Labs and was formerly Director of Performance at AS Roma and a fitness coach for Bayern Munich and the German national team.

Speaking at TGG’s Individual Development 2022 Webinar, Norman said: “I learned early on as a performance coach that I was an energy taker, because I was always asking the players for stuff.

“’Hey, can do you run this extra piece, can you pick up that weight?’ I was a taker and takers wear on you - even though I was doing my job and trying to do it in the best way possible.

“The physios, they were all givers, because they’re giving the players good feelings, massages, mobilisations that make their injuries better, modalities. So I was like, ‘Man, we’ve got to change this up.' The takers have to to be the givers sometimes and the givers have got to be takers.

“We started asking the physios to be takers in some respects and we as the performance staff got to be the givers and do things that made the players feel good.

“It’s a dynamic process, to find that balance, so that every time you came in the room the players didn’t run the other way because you were just coming in to ask them stuff.”

Tony Strudwick, the Head of Performance for Wales and Arsenal's Academy, spoke on this theme during Episode #13 of the TGG Podcast. At the time, football was in lockdown because of the Covid pandemic.

"Connecting and building relationships with an athlete is, for me, still the most important thing,” he said. “In this period now, with your athletes working from home, the first thought every day should be to send them a message ‘how are you doing?’

"Not, ‘have you hit x, y and z today?’ The soft skills side of it is really important. The modern coach is exposed to so much high-quality material, in terms of game models and sports science and so on, but you’re not just an iPad coach, you’re a human being.

“That is one of the most important things for a successful environment. The best coaches in the future will be the ones who combine the science with the art of engaging with the athletes.”

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