As this blog will be focusing on my coaching en-devours over the next year, I feel that it is only right to start by explaining my coaching philosophy. This has developed over the past four years of coaching various age groups and standards in both male and female sports. I’ve taken the step to include a paragraph or two justifying my philosophy using a little bit of research which I think makes some interesting reading!
In my coaching I deliver a style that incorporates lots of different theories and teaching methods to reach the end result in creating an athlete that not only has physical and technical skills but an ability to make correct decisions under pressure. Whats the point in having an athlete that has all the requisite skills but cant handle the pressures of match day!
My philosophy is to take a cognitive approach with a whole – part – whole instructional approach to complex skills in sport. Whilst ensuring that these skills are transferred to a game situation using a constructivist approach within competitive small sided games.
The Constructivist way of coaching and teaching is to build upon past experiences to come to adjust and improve the outcome.The more exposure to match simulation situations in training, the more likely an athlete is going to make the correct decision in a match. This theory was studied extensively by Vygotsky (1998) where it was shown in a study of active learners that those participants who had performed an action in a variety of situations and environments performed significantly better than the participants who only performed the assigned action in a controlled environment.
I aim to create democratic environment is in my sessions to give the athletes an input into what the team should work on whilst still taking control myself and fulfilling the teams and individuals needs in training.
The alternative to the democratic style of leading or coaching is the autocratic style, the positive aspect of this style is that the coach is completely in control of the training schedule and content and does not need to consult the athletes on this. However Amarose and Hollembeak (2007) conducted a study involving two hundred and eighty college athletes asking them to fill out a questionnaire regarding how they responded to certain leadership types and traits. The results showed that sixty-eight percent of the participants stated that they preferred democratic leadership to autocratic leadership when it came to a sports coach.
I consider feedback to be a major part of the learning process and use behaviourist techniques to give feedback whilst also conducting lots of short question and answer to confirm if knowledge is present.
Behaviourism is the last of the learning theories which is employed within the coaching to fulfil the coaching philosophy. Behaviourism theory suggests that the learner responds most effectively to positive and negative external reinforcement, consequently if a coach is looking for correct application of a skill in a training session or if a team completes a set task positive reinforcement should let them know that they have performed the movement correctly or completed the task in the manner required. Subsequently this also applies to poor application of a skill or the non-completion of a task set. Pavlov (2010) conducted the most famous study into behaviourism, the study showed that animals changed their behaviour in accordance to positive or negative reinforcement thus showing that the subjects had gone through the process of learning.
Whilst keeping on the topic of feedback and behaviourism this study clearly supports my emphasis on question and answer at the end of all of my sessions.
Elder et al. (2000) conducted a study into the effectiveness of question and answer sessions employed in classrooms. The study involved, seventy-eight participants with thirty-eight participants studying in a classroom that employed question and answer sessions as part of their lessons. Their test results in six monthly tests were compared to forty participants who studied in a classroom that did not include question and answer sessions as part of their lessons. The results showed that the group who included question and answer scored significantly higher than the group who did not have question and answer sessions as part of their lessons.
Finally while creating a competitive environment the feedback is given to put the emphasis on the process rather than the end result, encouraging athletes to adopt good practice and processes rather than a win at all costs mentality.
As a summary my coaching philosophy is to create an environment that allows athletes to develop physically, technically and mentally strong giving the athletes the ability to make decisions and improve their leadership qualities.
I hope you found my coaching philosophy an interesting read, I believe it is important that a coaching philosophy always develops so i will maybe post an updated philosophy a year from now so we can look at how I have changed and developed as a coach through my experiences which I will keep you updated on through this blog!!
Amorose,A & Hollembeak,J, 2007, Perceived Coaching Behaviors and College Athletes’ Intrinsic Motivation: A Test of Self-Determination Theory.
Elder. L, R.W. Paul. 2000, Critical Thinking: Basic Theory and Instructional Structures.
Lim. L, Olina. Z and Reiser. R.A, 2008, The effects of part-task and whole-task instructional approaches on acquisition and transfer of complex cognitive skill, Education Tech Research Dev, Vol 57,pp 61-77
Pavlov, PI 2010, ‘Conditioned reflexes: An investigation of the physiological activity of the cerebral cortex’, Annals Of Neurosciences, 17, 3, pp. 136-14
Vygotsky, L.S., 1998. The collected works of L.S. Vygotsky, Vol. 5, New York: Plenum