On reflection from last week’s session, creativity and its development is a something that seriously needs consideration when coaching at grass roots level or any level to that matter. Creativity can be developed in a number of ways however (Dietrich, 2004; Runco, 2007; Sternberg & Lubart, 1995 cited in Memmert 2010, p.4) support the view that creativity can be developed through the gathering of experience over numerous years. Therefore based on this, if we develop creativity when the players are young, we are more likely to produce creative players in the future, no?

However before I go any further it is probably important to understand what creativity is and how it can be defined. Creativity can be defined as “The ability to produce work that is both novel (i.e. original, unexpected) and appropriate (i.e. useful)” (Sternberg, 1998).

It is no breaking news to anyone that England are not creating the creative players that they once used to. For one reason or another England struggle to produce creative players so how is it that we can produce the likes of Messi, Ronaldo, Suarez and Neymar. This is the question that I believe every coach has been asking themselves however finding the answer is a completely different story. But what is a creative player for that matter? I believe that a creative player is someone who is not afraid to take a risk and someone who is confident and able to think outside of the box. This way they will try new things that the ‘less creative’ players might be afraid of doing.

Now that we have established what creativity is and what a creative player looks like, it is also important to establish what a player needs, in order to be creative. Therefore I believe that (Ross and Haskins, 2013)’s model which focuses on the ‘S’ system is perfect and describes a creative players needs to a tee. Here is the system below:

  • Skill: To perform the creative though.
  • Spatial Awareness: To understand the space required to perform the skill.
  • Sensing: The ability to see and feel what is going on.
  • Social Awareness: To understand whether the others around need to be involved.
  • Self-Awareness: To understand personality strengths, weaknesses & behaviours.

I completely agree with this model and when you think about it all of these ‘S’s fit into the FA’s four corner model which focuses on the physical, technical, social and psychological development of players. (Ross and Haskins, 2013). As a result the player is developing as a whole as opposed to solely developing their creative side.

Gareth Southgate stated I’m not convinced you actually coach creativity, I think players will do things naturally that are creative. I think you’ve got to try and create the environment for them to do that” (TheFA, 2013). So is it the environment that helps players be creative or is it the coaching that is being applied as mentioned previously. In my personal opinion the best way to see what a player can do is by letting them get on with it in a game situation. By creating small sided games players will have to make decisions for themselves and I believe that this is where creativity can be found. If the environment is comfortable then the players are more likely to try new things without having the fear of making a mistake. By initiating this at a very young age players are more likely to try creative things which can be stored and then used again further into their sports career.

To conclude this brings me back to my first point that creativity can be gathered through experience over numerous years and in all honesty this is how I will go about developing creativity in the future. For me it is all about letting the players try new things which sometimes may work and sometimes may not, however that is all part of the journey into developing creativity.

Reference List

Memmert, D., Baker, J. and Bertsch, C. (2010) ‘Play and practice in the development of sport‐specific creativity in team ball sports’, High Ability Studies, 21(1), pp. 3–18.

Ross, G. and Haskins, D. (2013) Creativity in Football. [Online]. Available at: https://sportscoachuk.org/sites/default/files/SCUK%20Football%20Creativity%20Booklet.pdf (Accessed: 30 October 2015).

Sternberg, R. (1998) Handbook of creativity. Edited by Robert J. Sternberg. 1st edn. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

The FA (2013) Gareth Southgate talked about the FA’s approach to developing creativity. [Online]. Available at: http://www.thefa.com/news/st-georges-park/2013/dec/fa-licensed-coaches-club-conference-gareth-southgate-creativity (Accessed: 30 October 2015).


One thought on “Developing Creativity.

  1. This is an excellent post. I like your direction of travel and you appear to developing your abilty to quesiton and review information through a critical eye. Keep trying to read as broadly and always ask “why”


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