The following blog is my reflection on the coaching of coach summers as seen in this YouTube video. https://youtu.be/BTEKzocCt0o
Coach Summer took over the coaching role in the last quarter of a very close game. This was between two group of children aged about 12. We don’t know if Summer has had previous contact with the children before but she does state that she has no experience coaching basketball. Summer has a background in strength and conditioning so she will have an understanding of the physicality of the sport and should have an idea about how to motivate the players. From watching the video I saw three main areas where she could make improvements in her coaching. These were the motivation of players, giving effective feedback and communication skills. An area she demonstrated strength in was identifying feedback.
Areas for Improvement
Motivating the players was the main area that Summer could improve on. The work of Mageau and Vallerand states that “An autonomy-supportive style implies that coaches provide opportunities for choices, emphasize task relevance, explain reasons underlying rules and limits, acknowledge athletes’ feelings and perspective, give athletes opportunities to take initiatives, provide non-controlling competence feedback, avoid using controlling motivational strategies, and prevent egoinvolvement in their athletes” (Mageau and Vallerand, 2003). This autonomy-supportive style aids athletes to develop good motivational traits such as high levels of intrinsic motivation. Summer wasn’t providing this environment for the players as we can see by the way she gave authoritative orders as to what the players were meant to do in the next quarter of the game. She interrupted a player and responded with “no listen no uh uh I’m the coach you listen. I don’t want to hear anything out of you. Do you under stand? You listen to my instructions” Summer’s wasn’t giving the players the opportunity for choice, acknowledging the athletes feelings or perspective. Very controlling language was used alongside Summer pointing her finger in the players faces as she spoke. This meant the players would have felt they had no ownership of the game or what they needed to do, due to this they were unlikely to enjoy the game. This was even commented on by a judge in the video stating that “this is what makes kids drop out of sport”.
To improve this she could have given advice to the players as to what the team could do to improve and provide an example from a major league team. Also she could have used what the team had been doing previously in the game which was good and encouraged similarly. This would give the players a choice and make the players feel like they have been doing well, so the team are more likely to respect Summer’s opinion and take the advice on board.
Giving effective feedback could have fed into positive performance; an example of the feed back given by Summer’s was “you pass it to him because you can’t shoot”. This negative feedback is very demoralising for the players individually and as a team. Instead of this she could have applied sandwich criticism by praising the players, then addressing the fact that his shooting needs working on, whilst following that up with some more positive praise. Personally I wouldn’t have even mentioned his shooting ability especially in a competitive situation, instead encourage the team to come up with a strategy that utilises everyone’s strengths. This could have resulted in the team deciding that player 1 (who couldn’t shoot very well) passed the ball the player 2 (who could shoot well). This view to let the players attempt to solve the problem independently is supported by the work of Fyfe and Rittle-Johnson, (2016) stating that “children with induced knowledge of a correct strategy learned more from problem solving alone.”
The athletes already have the ability to play the game to a good standard as we can see from the in game clips of the video. This suggests that the players would be eligible to learn by problem solving so the feedback she was giving wasn’t only destructive the the players but also irrelevant. However some positive feedback at the end of the game as to how they solved the problems would have been very beneficial.
Something that ties into the above two points is communication. This is an area that Summer could greatly improve on. For example she was pointing at the children, ignoring what the players had to say and at one point even used inappropriate language towards the group. Her methods of communication weren’t working as we saw in the game as she had to repeat her instructions. This repetition of instructions was also delivered poorly as the players were in the game, probably unaware of her verbal instructions or weren’t able to concentrate on both the game and instructions.
Although the feedback was of poor quality her eye for spotting areas for discussion was more that sufficient. Summer saw when there were aspects of the formation or tactics that could be improved and tried to address them. For example one player was struggling to shoot, she identified this and gave the player feedback on this area. Distinguishing these areas and developing what is known as your “coaches eye”. This is because the way in which a coach sees and understands what needs improving and what isn’t relevant is extremely important.
In conclusion Summer needs to vastly improve her autonomy-supportive style and by doing this she will engage the players more and gain their respect. This will further Summer’s development as a coach. By looking at her communication and the way she gives feedback to the group she can ensure that the players being coached not only enjoy the session but get the most out of it.
Mageau, G. and Vallerand, R. (2003). The coach–athlete relationship: a motivational model. Journal of Sports Sciences, 21(11), pp.883-904.
Fyfe, E. and Rittle-Johnson, B. (2016). Feedback both helps and hinders learning: The causal role of prior knowledge. Journal of Educational Psychology, 108(1), pp.82-97.