What Makes a Good Coach

SPORTS COACHING What makes a good coach? Coaches can come in all shape and sizes and use a variety of techniques and methods. Some may be great tacticians with a deep knowledge of the sport whereas others may be great motivators. But whether it candlin or capello all coaches have roles and responsibility in order to make them effective leaders. •In a coaching role it is needed for you to develop the skills of organising, safety, providing instruction, explanation, and demonstrating, observing, analysing and providing feedback.
There are number of roles and responsibilities that a coach must maintain. A number of roles are included and many more are involved. •Roles that a good coach may display are : Innovator- sport is constantly changing and it is down to the coach to adapt to those changes, whether it’s a change to the rules a change environment or a change in personnel, it is down to the coach to solve the problems that they may encounter. good coach will draw on past experiences and their knowledge of the sport, or in some cases other sports, to come up with new ideas and approaches, whether this be to make training more fun and effective, push an athlete to new levels, adapt to new rules such as the way rugby coaches had to adapt some tactics when ELV’S were introduced or whether its just to keep up rivals.
A good coach will always be thinking about what they can do different,, a famous quote says “if you always do what you have always done, you will always get what you always got” basically if you do the same thing all the time you will always get the same results you will never improve, it coaching is about development and improvement so there is a need for coaches to be bold enough to try new things in order to improve performance and results.

Top level coaches have access to a wide verity of resources such as sports scientists ,psychologists, and technical knowledge, and should use this to create new and innovate approaches/ tactics to gain every possible advantage, for example London wasps and Wales coach Shaun Edwards brought the technique of blitz defence to prominence in rugby union, The Blitz defence relies on the whole defensive line moving forward towards their marked man as one as soon as the ball leaves the base of a ruck or maul.
The charge is usually led by the inside centre. The idea of this technique is to prevent the attacking team gaining any ground by tackling them behind the gain line and forcing interceptions and charged down kicks. However, the defending team can be vulnerable to chip kicks and any player breaking the defensive line will have lots of space to play because the defences are running the other way and must stop, turn and chase.
In many ways, the blitz is similar to the defence used in rugby league, a sport that Edwards had a significant background in, the technique has had great success for London Wasps with the team winning the Heineken Cup in 2003-04 and 2006-07, the Premiership title in 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2008 and the Anglo-Welsh Cup in 2006. Not only this, but this style of defence played a significant role in the 2008 Six Nations Grand Slam for the Welsh national team, who conceded only two tries over five games.
This shows that innovative techniques developed form a knowledge of a verity of sporting backgrounds can be successful, in some cases innovation is needed on a different level rather than improving performance, in some cases it is needed to break social barrier, this arguable goes beyond the role of a good coach but an extra ordinary coach, don Haskins was the coach of Texas western collaged basketball team in the 1960s, a time of racial oppression for black people, however in the 1965-6 season, despite controversy and abuse, Hoskins build his team around choosing the best players regardless of race , in a time where teams would only use one or 2 token black players, Hoskins defied prejudice and made history by winning the NCAA Men’s Division I men’s basketball championship in 1966, becoming the first team with an all black starting five to win an NCAA basketball National Championship.
The Miners defeated Kentucky 72-65 in the historic championship game, both examples show how innovation can work on different levels and how it impacts on sport, innovation is needed at all levels of sport whether it is just to make training more fun or to change the face of a sport, effective coaches will always find time to reflect on both their coaching and where necessary return to the role of a learner to further develop and improve their own knowledge and professional development to learn from coaches in other sports, such as in 2006 when the British lions coaching staff employed former freestyle wrestler Paul Stridgeon as a contact coach as a way to improve tackling by using techniques associated normally associated with wrestling
Role Model – coaching is no longer just about improving performances, increasingly it is becoming about shaping a person, performers come from a verity of backgrounds and have different reasons for part, but typically watch and copy the actions of their coach, or in basic terms “ monkey see monkey do” if a coach conducts themselves in a positive manner and maintains a strong work ethic and plays fair these characteristics are likely to rub off on the performer and the coach has had a positive effect on their performer/ athlete ,however if a coach acts in a negative way such as being brash cocky arrogant with a low regard for sporting etiquette then theses traits are also likely to rub off on the performer and the coach will have had a negative effect, especially with young performers who may look to the coach as for guidance and advice on a verity of issue thus making the coach a very influential individual. It is therefore important that a coach uses good practice in all they say and do, a coach should behave in a way that earns and maintains respect on a high level.
Coaches have the potential to exert great influence on their team/ athletes, so therefore a coach must ensure that this influence is positive and not only improve the performance but improve the person, , a good role model will encourage fair play and sportsman ship to be of the same importance as results, Friend- coaches and performers spend a lot of time together. They share both positive and negative experiences with each other, and they will have to do this in a friendly and respectful environment, the performance environment can be extremely tough at times and athletes need someone to talk to help them cope with the demands of training and competing. The friend coach is needed to pick up they pieces after a difficult or disappointing performance and may need to be the outlet of emotion. The coach should help keep their performers feet on the ground in order for them to be successful.
A coach that can be seen as a friend may be able to motivate a performer better than a coach who is seen as unapproachable, in most cases the performer will be highly self motivated and come for training / coaching sessions because they enjoy the sport and enjoy learning from the coaching experiences they get from the coach, however it is up to the coach to manage this environment in a way that maintains self motivation for the performer. To achieve this a good coach thinks about what motivates and drives their performer to perform to their best. Understanding why a person takes part in sport will enable a coach to create a coaching environment that is best suited to maintaining his/her motivation.
This outcome can be achieved easier if the performer considers their coach their friend as they are more likely to open up and share their feelings and experiences with each other theses can then be implemented in the coaching environment where appropriate. An example of friendship between coach and performer be jonny Wilkinson and the friend ship he developed with 3 key coaches in his career : his Newcastle falcons coach rob Andrew, his kicking coach rob Andrew, and his fitness coach Steve black, all three have been able to develop a personal relationship with Wilkinson and have been able to use their friendship to pass on their experiences and further develop his career especially black who helped Wilkinson develop his work ethic towards training and perfection,
Trainer- all performers need training whatever level they are at, it is the role of a good coach to provide that training. The coach’s role as a trainer is related to ensuring that their performers are able to meet physical demands of the sport they are competing in, in addition there is an ever increasing need for coaches to help performers meet the psychological demands of competitive sport, especially in an age where media attention on sports stars and the prizes have never been greater , for example a cricketer competing in India’s ipl can expect to win up to $1million if their team wins the tournament, this creates unimaginable amounts of pressure which could affect performance if not dealt with properly.
Therefore the coach must be able to help a performer deal with this as a result there are more teams and athletes than ever that seek the assistance of a sports physiologist in their coaching staff , it is up to the coach to devise training schedules that help to develop the performers abilities both physically and mentally. The most common perception of the role of a trainer is the physical development of their performers. every sport places a physical demand on performers , there is evidence to support the belief that a performer cannot only improve sporting performance by focusing on developing sport specific fitness levels , but also improve their all-round health and well –being through well planned and well structured training schedules.
A good coach should have a good understanding of the different fitness components , they should be able to devise training programmes/schedules, with clear progression and technical development that allows the performer to maintain and further develop all round good health , fitness and psychological wellbeing in order to cope with demands of their sport, It is vital for any coach to take on a series of responsibilities, like the role of a manager, there are many responsibilities included that a coach must apply in order for their performer/team to play safely/ legally , with no risks. It’s not just the coach who needs to focus on the responsibilities of the performers but it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure the safety of all within the sport.
Some of the main responsibilities of a coach are : Health and Safety – all coaching sessions should take place with consideration being given to health and safety issues. they should take place in a safe environment that minimises risk and maximises benefit. Coaches are responsible for the health and safety of their performers/team. Coaches should have access to first aid facilities and able to have contact with the emergency services in the event of an emergency . the health a safety responsibilities can be split into three main components: safety of facilities – when preparing a session a coach must take into consideration the facilities in which the session is to take place e. g. is it safe to hold a contact session in rugby on a hot day when the ground is very hard,.
A coach must ensure the activity can be done safely within the area with the equipment available, a coach must be aware of emergency procedures that need to be followed and what to do in the event of an emergency, basically the coach must undertake a full risk assessment of the area and ensure they know how to deal with any incident that may arise. Safety of the activity- a good coach should select practices that are safe and technically correct. Activities should not pos unnecessary risk to the performer. When selecting activities a coach should take into consideration that performers must undertake a thorough and appropriate warm up before physical activity, performers should not be made to perform activities they are not physically or technically capable of, activities should allways remain within the rules of the sport e. g. f doing a tackling session in rugby the same rules should be applied as in a game no high tackles no spearing or dangerous tackling, activities that are unsafe not technically correct or go against the rules of the sport should never be allowed. safety of the performer – if a coach appropriately addresses the safety issues related to the venue, equipment, and selected activities, the safety of the performer will have been addressed. However the coach should still remain aware of potential risks so that the safety of the perfomer is never compromised. Professional conduct The coach is person of authority and power, therefore it is important that a coach knows how to use this authority and power in the right way and not to abuse it.
Unfortunately however there have been coaches that have used their position to achieve unfair and inappropriate gains, trailing 6-5 During the quarter final of the 2009 Heineken Cup against Leinster, Harlequins wing Tom Williams came off the field with what turned out to be a faked blood injury in order to facilitate a tactical substitution , that allowed fly half nick evens to return the pitch after already being replaced to the pitch, it turned out to be ordered by director of rugby Dean Richards, so that quins had a goal kicker back on the pitch the plan nearly payed off when quins took a late attempt at goal but evens missed. this was a gross abuse of the rules and severe action was taken against both harlequins and Richards, Richards has been banned from taking part in rugby in any way for 2 years. It is a coaches responsibility to ensure they behave in an appropriate manner and practice within the boundaries of acceptability at all times. Coaches should demonstrate a professional approach to their performers and ensure that they are are fair, honest and considerate to the performers needs, like many professions coaching promotes a code of conduct . this ensures coaches act in an ethical and professional manner at all times.
The uk sport code of coaching conduct stresses the importance of of: •Rights; to respect and champion the rights of everyone in sport •Relationships; to develop professional honest relationships with performers •Responsibility; to demonstrate appropriate professional behavior and conduct and achieve a high level of competence through qualifications and continued professional development Professional conduct is important as a coach must behave in an appropriate manner or they risk losing the respect of the performers, lose respect and expect to be losing your job! Good coaches should always act professionally All coaches need to be able to carry out a series of skills to be considered as a good coach.
Communication – communication is a key skill for any coach perhaps even the most important, a coach may be an expert tactician but what use is that if they can’t communicate with their performers . performers need to understand what is needed from them, a coach should be able to explain a task in clear and composed voice, some coaches believe this is enough however there is a lot more to it. Communication is a 2 way process giving a signal, whether it be verbal or non verbal, is just as important as it being received, so that it can be listened to and understood. How the coach send the signal can have a big impact on how effective the signal is.
Coaches communicate in two main ways :verbal: characterised by the use of the spoken word, and most coaches are defiantly able to talk, especially if your name is roy keane or Brendan venter ! Varying the pace, tone and volume of what is said can be key getting a message across. Also remember that that repetitive shouting does not make communication more effective, it may infact have a negative effect as the performer may find it boring and start ignoring it. Non verbal: involves alternative ways of sending a signal, gesture facial expressions and body language are the most common, a lot of coaches are les adept at using non verbal communication , effective non verbal communication is a sign of a good coach, a well timed facial expression can say more than a thousand words.
In competitive situations non verbal communication may be the only way of communication with performers. If you want to see a good non verbal Ferguson. Constantly in a game a coach will be communicating with their performers. Never ever will a coach not be communicating with them, its key to speak to your performers, you also need to be able to give effective non verbal commands To be a good coach here are some good communication points, that can be looked at: Organisation – : An effective coach is well organised. Organisation is important, for performers need someone to organises training sessions/ programmes, and fixtures. In a lot of cases this role falls to the coach.
Even before a session begins a good coach should be well organised, they should know what they are going to to, farcicalities ad equipment needed, what drills will be carried out and who is going to be coached e. g. if there is a performer who is coming back from an injury or someone who has a big game/ race in the next few days should have a different session planned by the coach. Good organisation before a coaching session will ensure the session runs smoothly and that everyones is doing the right thing in the right place at the right time. A lot of coaches will say that the administration side of the job is the least enjoyable part . however organisation is of equal importance to the other aspects of coaching if not more important, without organisation there is no training or fixtures .
It goes without saying , a coaching session cannot take place without the facilities and equipment being booked, equally a participant cannot compete unless they have actually been entered . a good coach may reduce their workload by delegating the organisational aspects to parents or other club members. This allows for the coach to focus more of their time on the actual coaching aspect of their job. If you need some tips improve your organisation as a coach read below Evaluation- a good coach will always be willing and keen to pass comment on the performers ability and performance. And will always be assessing what has gone well and what needs to be improved to better that performance.
An example of this is former England rugby coach would always look to find the positives his team’s performance, must of been hard considering that under his reign England were usually on the wrong end of terrible results! However a good coach should also be evaluating their own performance but coaches rarely will, and if they do, they will usually only focus on what has gone well . for evaluation to be effective it needs to be impartial and clearly identify not only what went well but what didn’t go so well and needs to be improved. Honesty is key to any evaluation it will allow the coach to learn from their own mistakes and improve their coaching skills thus benefitting their performer
As we know that coaches needs to develop a lot of roles, responsibilities and skills to be an excellent and successful coach. It’s has been looked at that a coach s needs to be evaluating their performers progression in whatever they do. If we were to analyse a what make a good coach there are many aspects we need to look at, such as health and safety, communication ,these aspects couldn’t possibly be stressed enough. There is then also organisation building long and short term plans for the performer, making sure that there stay interested and done feel tired and fed up with what is being done by the coach. Friend ship is also key a coach who is a friend can have much more impact than a coach who is just an outsider . coach also needs to show they have knowledge and experience of the sport that they are doing. A knowledgeable coach is always a good coach. A coach always needs to see the bigger picture and relay the ideas the coach has on to the performers and then the feedback comes back from the performers and then the coach can see then what went wrong with what there just did, that covers evaluation. In conclusion there is not one aspect that creates a good coach, as each aspect is of equal importance. in fact to be a good coach you need All the responsibilities, roles and skills come to together nicely; this shows what makes a good coach and how achieve able they may come.

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