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Posted in: General

How do your athletes influence what you do?

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  • robertkmaaye

    Intentionally open ended...look forward to reading your responses!

  • JonWoodward74

    For me, they influence every aspect of a coach's life.

    Sessions are developed by the needs and wants of the players (2 very different things as they can be very extreme and at polar ends of the scale!) and your content could be based around what they think they need, or what you think they need. Coaching is a complicated beast and dependent on what stage of your coaching relationship is with your players, this will vary from week to week, day to day and even minute by minute!!

    Coaching (as parenting does) impacts on my thoughts, my reading, my viewing and planning of my days and weeks, to maximise the impact of what I do, the enjoyment, the development and outcomes.

    We all have our favourite sessions we often come back to (Richard Allen highlighted this https://www.connectedcoaches.org/spaces/17/coaching-children-ages-5-12/forums/all-other-coaching-children-topics/216/emotional-attachment-to-practice-design-are-we-doing-the-players-a-disservice/1#982 ) and I always feel my coaching is underpinned by several basic concepts - the content is the same but how I deliver and share the ideas is very different depending on the audience of players, coaches or coach educators

    Coaching is people centred.....

    Look forward to hearing others.....

    Have a great week






  • ABradshaw

    One of the areas that I have explored as a coach and a coach developer is constructive alignment - a theory originating from education (Biggs) but having really interesting parallels into sport (Bob Muir's work).  The basic principles which I think are hugely relevant to this question are:


    • Athletes construct their own meaning through learning activities
    • Learning is not transmitted from the coach to athlete, but generated by athletes themselves
    • The coach is the catalyst for learning
    • What the athlete does is actually more important in determining what is learnt than what the coach does

    Alignment - the coach creating an environment which connects:

    • Appropriate skills
    • Learning tasks
    • Coaching behaviours
    • Assessment

    I have seen the value in thinking through the above elements within my own coaching and within the Talent & Performance team at sports coach UK we have explored these concepts in much more detail.

    Some of the questions that might spark some thought are:

    • What do you want the athlete(s) to learn?
    • What would it look like when it’s been learned?
    • How will you know that they have learnt it?
    • What learning activities do you want the athletes to engage in to learn it?
    • What coaching behaviours will support the athlete best?

    More questions I know ... but hopefully this may generate some further discussion ....


  • LawrieOK

    Hey Jon and Andrew (and Rob),

    Reading your posts reminds me that the words "Coach" & "Coaching" seem to be often used when actually the writer means "Trainer" & "Training" in the UK; that is they can be used synonymously/are interchangable. In the Netherlands Coach and Trainer are not always the same person, although they may be of course.

    Several questions were raised by Andrew, and Jon used the term "Sessions", that suggests to me your thinking is leaning towards "Trainer".

    With this in mind, I totally agree with Jon that the athletes influence every aspect of their "Coach's" life. I am not convinced this would be the case of their Trainer's" life though. For me the Coach would be influenced by both what the athletes want to learn as well as what the Coach wants them to learn, and that in turn the Coach would require the Trainer to develop sessions to address both these elements; BUT, the Coach will coach the Athlete(s) as he/she believes is appropriate to achieving the mutually agreed goals established by the Athlete(s) and the Coach.

    Looking forward to seeing where Rob's original post takes us.

  • saranicolehilton

    I agree with Jon, my athlete's influence every aspect of what I do as a coach. From the content of the session down to the terminology I use.

    The athletes are the reason you're doing what you're doing as a coach, be it from a player development aspect or just fun grassroots session. They are the compass that guides me in terms of my preparation as a coach.

    I personally try and ensure that each of the following aspects have been covered within the preparation of my session:

    Technically: Are the player technically able to perform the tasks I'm asking them to do?

    Tactically: Are they able to take on board the tactical information that may be involved within the session?

    Physically: Have I planned enough breaks, work to rest ratio etc in terms of their age, maturity and general physicality?

    Mentally/Socially: Have I planned my demonstrations? Do I know what terminology they understand? Do I know how to communicate to the players as individuals?

    All this in turn will influence what I do as a coach.

  • Coach_Browning

    A possibly slightly different response here...but...

    "It depends where they are in their development"

    When the player is new to the sport then the relationship is different to when they are a veteran (with all the associated experience etc... that brings).

    A couple of examples:

    1) I had a Wide Receiver (WR) start for us. He will agree...brash, supremely confident boardering on arrogance. He had ideas on things, plays, drills etc...but he needed guidance. Fast forward 3 years and he was my closest advisor for the WRs. Leader of the unit. Matured. Fully trusted with a completely different relation between us. In his final game, it is at the end of the game. We are winning and trying to run down the clock. As Head Coach, I decide to let time run down and then call a time out to then punt the ball away and let our defence seal the win with a few seconds left. I look out to the field and he has already gone to the ref to sort the time out without me needing to say anything. I then call the Punt team on the field and he comes over and says no and gives another plan. We chat quickly and I decide to go with his plan.

    2) I had a kicker start with us. Very much the opposite personality to the WR above. Needed to develop the confidence. Needed a different sort of guidance...So I am dicatating more to him. Following year, he is integral to all the Special Teams decisions. He will comment on play designs, he will be watching film and telling me things he has seen. I dont release a new play design until he has seen it as that is the relationship now. His views are valued and so they are fed into what we are doing.

    So overall, the atheltes influence differently depending on who they are and at what stage of development they are. It sometimes takes them a while to learn the game to the point that they can properly communicate in the language of the game.

    But overall, I like the players to take ownership where they can. For example, at the start of the year we needed to come up with some footwork drills that each unit would run at the start of every practice. Extension of warm up...regular thing to get going in trianing...get switched on etc...I obviously had ones that I was going to run, but the main one is one that my veteran WR asked to do. 

  • LawrieOK

    Recently read this lovely piece on that mother lode called Twitter:-


  • robertkmaaye
    On , said:

    Recently read this lovely piece on that mother lode called Twitter:-


    Loved reading that Lawrie thanks for sharing!

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