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Posted in: General

How do you know you've done a good job as a coach?

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  • BarbAugustin

    If your goal as a coach is to help your athletes be the best they can be - how do you know you've done that? If they broke a world record, how do you know they couldn't have gone faster? Even if they're never going to be in WR contention, how do you know when they've done the best they could ever have possibly done?

    Very similar questions could be asked of any goal you have as a coach.

    I don't have the answer to this, but one indicator of how you're progressing as a coach may be if there's a benchmark of how long it takes ON AVERAGE for an athlete to get to various levels (eg state/county, national, international). I don't know of any such benchmarks - do you?

    How do you measure your effectiveness as a coach?

  • Coach_Browning
    On 14/04/16 2:26 AM, Barb Augustin said:

    If your goal as a coach is to help your athletes be the best they can be - how do you know you've done that?

    I've spoken to players about the worst feeling in the world is regret. The "what ifs", "if only" statements.

    For me measurements and stats are irrelevant. A player can look you in the eye and tell you they did their best, but they can't lie to themselves.

    if one of my players can look himself/herself in the mirror at night, with no one else around, and say they gave it everything they could or were the best they could possibly be then I feel I have done a good job...

    ...If the following day they do it and say they were even better then I feel I have done a great job

  • JonWoodward74

    Interesting post and one I hope will generate some debate....

    My gut feeling it isn't about stats, or wins, or trophies or success...

    It is difficult to know if the player has done everything to achieve their goal (with huge emphasis on 'their') - my job as a coach (or parent for that matter) is to create and develop opportunities through my sessions, my support, my guidance and my research to offer the athletes the up most chance of achieving their goals.

    It is down to the individual to maximise the opportunity....

  • BarbAugustin

    Thanks Simon. That's a very interesting perspective and one I hadn't considered.

    I believe what you're saying is part of the answer to my question, in that it addresses if the player has got the best out of themselves WITH THEIR CURRENT FORM. My question goes further - how do I know if their current form is as good as they can be - have I given them the skills, strength, conditioning, mental skills etc that they can draw on?

    I will be asking my athletes your question, it's a good one. Thank you.  

  • BarbAugustin

    Thank you Jon. I agree with your definition of a coach. The question is how do you know you've done YOUR best to do all that?

    Thanks again.

  •   Answered

    My beliefs on this are that, although we should help guide our athletes with goal setting, goal setting should be an individual journey/task for anyone, including our athletes.

    The same way, we know our own limitations (or at least we think we do!) - The same way athlete's are familiar with their own. Our job in combination with this, is to guide them through a journey of progression and as they go through it, they will constantly rediscover their limitations and possibilities.

    As to how far these possibilities and limitations reach? Is all about how far we are able to push our athletes physically and mentally in the time circumstance allows us to be with our athletes. We can only push our athletes to be the best version of themselves and we can only do this by being the best version of ourselves -  if we do this and the athlete still doesn't feel they've satisfied their full potential it is upon themselves to find the thing or person that does.

    In order to be the best version of yourself as a coach? I believe it's all about being a reflective practitioner and constantly evolving with the times and your athlete. There are loads of books and literature out there about becoming a reflective practitioner and learning cycles that may help - if you'd like me to post some helpful references on this conversation let me know.

    Jonathan Benjamin

    Birchfield Harriers Athletics Coach

    Newman University Sports Student

  • BarbAugustin

    Thanks Jonathan. I agree with everything.

    Today one of my athletes got a PB by 2 minutes (~10%) - great isn't it? BUT could he have done 2:10? If he retired today I will never be sure that he didn't have more in him. 

    When you look at only one athlete in isolation it is difficult - you may have someone freakishly good, for example. If there was some benchmark that said, ON AVERAGE, it should take an athlete 5 years (or whatever) to reach a State Squad (or any other measure), I could look at my squad and say Yes or No, my guys did that ON AVERAGE.

    I don't know how else you can do it. I've been coaching for over 10 years and have had my share of success, but could I have done better? Have I been lucky in the innate talent of my athletes? Have I worked them too hard, so too many of them have been injured? Have I not worked them hard enough so they haven't achieved their best? 

    Maybe I'm the only coach having trouble with this.

  • Maureen

    Hi Barb,

    I hear a lot of self doubt creeping in here! What do we always emphasise, always be POSITIVE. You cannot change the past, worrying will increase your self doubt. Today is a new day, from now on you will do your best, that is all we can all do. No one is perfect and we can only work with the materials we have been given. If you worry too much, your athletes will pick up on your negative vibes, they need you to be as positive as a rock.

  • BarbAugustin

    Thanks Olywn. 

    You may be right. I was never happy unless I was getting "A" at school!

    I would like to think it's more along the lines of understanding where I'm at.

    Using school as an example, scoring a maths test is easy - you get all the answers right and you get an A+. Scoring an English essay is a bit different, there's a lot of subjectivity in there. Either way, unless the student has a score (A+/D- or whatever), they don't know how well they're going. Likewise, if the teacher ends up with a class full of A+ students, that says something - WHAT it says is a different matter! Did the teacher take them from D- to A+ or did the teacher inherit a group of A+ students?  

  •   Answered

    Percentage of successful in your session. The result of team or a player's achievement with particular task that's will give our impress we done good job or not. 

  • pvjenks

    Hi I've coached triathletes for over 20 years and whether  they are novices or European age group champions you know that there is always that little bit more to come. If you know if you have done a good job  as a coach aren't we always looking to also improve the way we perform the tasks in hand.

  • BarbAugustin

    Thanks Ranjit, I'll think about how I can implement that.

  • BarbAugustin

    Thanks Pete.

    What is your metric of "success" for middle-of-the-pack athletes? (Winning/world rankings etc works fine for those at the pointy end.)

    Yes, I'm looking to improve. Being part of this network helps!

  • sophia

    Hi Barb,

    Coach effectiveness can be measured:

    (a) objectively through performance indicators (athletes' PBs, win/lose record, rankings etc)

    (b) subjectively though your own satisfaction doing the job and/or athletes' satisfaction with performance, training, treatment  (in addition own and athletes' motivation, commitment etc).

    With (b) in mind I wonder how many coaches are actually asking their athletes the question or similar questions you have posed here? I think it may be a useful exercise to involve athletes in formulating an answer to this question. Their answers can potentially lead to valuable feedback and can contribute to further personal reflections and development.

    The way I see it is that coaches and athletes "need" one another to progress and develop - neither can do it alone! (...)


  • BarbAugustin

    Thanks Sophia.

    In regards to (a):

    - PBs - my guys all achieved PBs during the last season - does that mean I "pass"? How do I know they couldn't have gone faster? Likewise for win/lose, rankings etc. They did all move up the rankings and win/lose is not as straightforward in athletics/triathlon as it is in team sports.

    In regards to (b):

    - my satisfaction about whether I'm doing a good job? I don't know if I'm doing a good job! However, I am satisfied that I'm at least trying to :-)

    - the satisfaction I get out of the relationships with the athletes? It's a strong relationship with most of them. One of them moved to another coach which hurt, but that's life.

    - my motivation and commitment - very high!

    - how the athletes feel? I will ask them. That's a great idea!

    Thank you!

  • BarbAugustin

    Yesterday I received a fabulous answer to my question. It was from Terry Condon, an Author at Faction Elite (http://faction-elite.com/author/coachcondon/). Here's Terry's answer.

    Bloody good question! I can only speak for myself, but in my experience the athlete does all the work, and my job is all about the actual work, so I judge myself on how they do that work, and how this changes them physically and mentally. So the lead metrics for me are related to turnout, intensity and enjoyment, while the lag metrics are related to progression in physical capability and 'mental fitness' for their sport.

    I think its unfair to ever infer my program was behind any athletes success (theres so much more to it), but I would be happy to say I helped someone become a better athlete.

    Great answer! Thank you.

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