Jul 30

Reasons for a Program and Coaching Philosophy (Cont.)

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In “Coaching young athletes: A foundation for success,” Schloder and McGuire (1998) discuss the need for establishing a program philosophy for the following reasons:


1. It has to be part of the overall planning process in order to guarantee success of the program.
2. It helps to improve the program because it assures that changes are made when needed.
3. It assures that the program is consistent with the objectives, goals and aim of the program or is altered to implement new directions.
It assures that the program continues.
4. It assures that the program and coaching staff are monitored and evaluated on an ongoing basis.
5. It assures that the progress and the well being of athletes are constantly monitored.
6. It helps to explain or defend the program to the public.


Reflection on Personal Coaching Styles


Let’s reflect upon the selection of a personal coaching style because it represents the program and one’s personal coaching philosophy. In essence, the coach’s overall attitude toward the sports participants becomes apparent. Your coaching philosophy denotes the way you plan, design and carry out participants’ skill development, physical, cognitive (knowledge) development, social and moral development. Are you more ‘product-‘ or more ‘process-oriented’ as a person and a coach? This is apparent through the process, whether it is more ‘teacher/coach-directed’ or more ‘learner-centered.’ Do you consider the sport participants as ‘subjects’ or mere ‘objects’, so-called “mortal engines or human performance machines” (Hoberman, (1992). Do you ‘rule with an iron fist’ (totally autocratic) or do you use various coaching styles (there are 12 styles!) to promote independent and analytical thinking? Are you afraid of being challenged or consider it a negative expression or a personal threat against your authority when young participants voice their concerns? On the other hand, do you encourage and solicit them to express themselves and do you also acknowledges their feelings? Do you admit to participants when you are wrong or when you did the incorrect ‘thing?’ Do you provide empowerment instead of intimidation? Do you help participant to enhance their self-image and self-esteem beyond the sports environment?


Certainly, we all know of or read episodes about famous and successful coaches who rule(d) the sports scene as autocratic ‘gods’. Some have resort(ed) to hitting or choking players (recent report). Others use physical exercises (sit-ups, push-ups, etc) as punishments until athletes are fatigued or vomit (creates mental toughness!). Such methods are not only archaic but also are no longer acceptable in modern day coaching, and have become legal issues. In addition, this type of ‘disciplining’ results in only one condition, namely those athletes become less motivated or start to operate under fear. The ‘traditional mold’ coaches tend to prefer the autocratic style because they feel more comfortable with it. Frequently, they themselves were coached that way in the past. This approach to coaching originates from military training (history of sport and physical education). There is no doubt that this style can and has been successful. However, many of these coaches are usually in elite or professional sports where economics also play a big part. We have to remember that children are neither “miniature adults” or play professional sports (Tutko, 1972; Martens, 1997; Schloder & McGuire, 1998). In the professional scenario athletes get recruited or by choice select a specific school or team and “that type” of coach. They know ”what they are getting into” (athletes’ quoted on a famous University Basketball program, and citing a well-known former football coach).

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