Coaching philosophy is simply the key characteristics of a coaching values and beliefs. It may indeed be argued that a personal philosophy is indistinguishable from a coaching philosophy. Our values and beliefs are often influenced by our: family, peers, friends, social class, education, gender, politics and popular cultural. Our philosophy often drives our decision making and underpins our relationship with the social environment that we live in. Sport can have an influence on our philosophy, which is clearly the coach, who is often in a position of influence over his players and will make decisions. Coaching philosophy definition: Kretchemar suggests that, “……a coaching philosophy forms the basis of the relationships between the coach and the athlete. But what sort of relationship is a healthy relationship. Is it a healthy conducive relationship that a performers is totally reliant upon the coach for everything, organising their lives, tactics, food, and lifestyle.” Why do we bother with a philosophy? It reminds us why we are coaching and lets us develop a coaching philosophy and become an effective coach, through a process of reflection. It also enables us to be flexible and adaptable when coaching. This is because an effective coaching philosophy needs to be grounded. The coach must be able to adapt to a real coaching situation and the way the club wants you to coach, which if you don’t you may lose the job.
Wayne Smith an assistant for All Blacks Rugby Union Coach says about the reflective process “The key thing I think is the openness to learning. I think coaches need to look at things on merit and understand that just because they’ve played the game, they don’t know everything about it. Having a passion to improve is important. Knowing that you are part of the problem means that you can also be part of the solution.” Reflective coach strives to develop and improve; at my university we discussed the process of reflection but what may we reflect upon. Van Mansen (1977) suggests that there are three levels of reflection that a coach could reflect upon: Technical, Practical and Critical: Here are examples of technical and critical: Technical: The coaches’ reflection could include: How can I ensure everyone hears me? What coaching resources could I use to improve the session? Did I achieve my objectives of the session? How can I structure the session? Is it going to be Blocked practice or Random Practice? By the coach setting out objectives to achieve with his players can help them track the development of the players and also enables them to improve on their own sessions. Critical Level: is when a coach focuses upon the political, moral and ethical meaning of their coaching. So the reflection is: Do I play players who are the most talented but are not committed to training and only turn up when it suits them? Or do I sacrifice personal development of players in order to win the game. For example if it’s a final against a main rival I decide to play the players who work hard to improve their development, but not the most talented in the team. They turn up to training, compared to talented players who may turn up when they want too, so if I do that I would get into some bother with the chief of the club because of the selection of the team and it’s all about Winning. There is a massive gap between a good understandings of the principles of learning————- A winner.
Reflective coaching issues are the coach trying to balance the drive to win matches with the personal development of the players. For example, encourage his team players to press the ball in football in the opposite half of the field, but you know this may lead to my team losing the games. Another example can be: we reach the final of a cup, but during our semi-final game we didn’t have our best player because they were injured. Does the coach for the final use the same team from the semi-final or does the coach give the playing spot to his best player and leave someone out who gave their best in the semi-final? Most coaches will just play their best players all the time because it’s all down to being a winner but not focusing on the principles of the development of the players.
Parents influence the coach to play their son or daughter in the position they believe is best for their child to play. If the coach hasn’t managed to play their child in some games it may lead to a parent asking that their child needs game time to enhance their confidence in the game. There is one thing could undermine the focus on winning all the time and being competitive and that is, it’s just all about having fun in sport
During my time coaching I have been involved with some parent influence because they want their son to play all the time and they didn’t care about any other child’s development in the sport. We had about 15 players to coach and had 2 teams (A team and B team) A team had the players who been with us from the start and we know the developments of each player and they were winning but they didn’t mind losing because they were enjoying it. But one parent wasn’t happy because their kid was playing in the B team but he just started training about 1 month ago and they kept on saying he’s better than all of your A team players but we still didn’t change it. Also, their kid wasn’t listening to us when coaching so why would we let him into our A team. So they ended up leaving the team and joined another one and we ended up playing his team later on but both of our teams played them and both of them won the games. The main reason why we had two teams (A and B team) is that we wanted everyone to play and play in different positions in the football match and it helps with our player’s development of the sport and they gain experiences.
Kretchmar, R.S. (1994). Practical philosophy of sport. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.
Maidstone Rugby. (2016) Maidstone RFC. Retrieved from: http://www.maidstonerugby.org.uk/maidstonerfc/userfiles/file/REFLECTION.pdf
Van Manen, M. (1977). Linking Ways of Knowing to Ways of Being Practical. Curriculum Inquiry, Vol. 6, No. 3, Spring.