Coaches have many diverse roles which can vary in importance according to the age group of the team. In simple terms, the role of the coach is to plan, act and review. This is an ongoing process aimed at improving the qualities of the coach and the performance of players. The basic roles of an effective coach are: • Manager dealing with a wide range of players, officials and supporters. • Leader assigned to organise training, match-day events and team morale. • Teacher instructing football skills and team tactics. Mentor behind every successful person there is one elementary truth: somewhere, somehow, someone cared about their growth and development. This person was their mentor. • Selector – involved in the planning and selection of the best team to represent the club. • Communicator providing clear instruction and feedback to the team and individual players. • Psychologist dealing with various individual personalities within the team. •Public relations representing the club at official functions and community activities. • Studentcontinually seeking to upgrade knowledge of the game. Sports trainer – with a basic knowledge of injury prevention, care and management. • Planner – annual integrated plan covering pre-season, competition, physical, technical, tactical, psychological, workload volumes and intensities etc. • Motivator – including engendering players’ acceptance of own responsibility. • Goal-setter – making sure that goals are achievable, challenging and measurable. • Creating a successful learning environment – focusing on what you can control; recognising individual and group needs.
MEASURING AND IMPROVING YOUR COACHING EFFECTIVENESS Australian Football is continually changing; rules change, techniques change, equipment is refined and coaching methods, including the application of sport sciences, evolve. Coaches must keep abreast of these changes and adapt their coaching accordingly. All coaches have to know if they are effective or ineffective, independent of the ability of the playing group. The following techniques can assist coaches in measuring and improving their coaching effectiveness. Coach self-reflection
Unless coaches can arrange for someone to observe and analyse them on a regular basis, the self-reflection method is the only method that can be used to confirm the effectiveness of their coaching. Self-reflection in coaching is a process where coaches compare their current practice against an ideal set of practices, using a systematic procedure to make comparisons between real and ideal. Video analysis Video analysis is another effective tool that assists in the self-reflection process because videotape provides permanent images that can help with in-depth analysis and evaluation.
It can also help to identify areas in need of improvement and can also be used to plan for such improvement. Video self-analysis is a six-step process: 1. Recording – videotape a coaching session. 2. Reflecting – review the tape to find a suitable segment, then analyse the segment against the ideal model. 3. Consulting – invite a mentor to ‘audit’ the analysis. 4. Planning – design a plan to improve. 5. Implementing – carry out the plan. 6. Follow-up recording – videotape a follow-up coaching session and check that the plan has worked. Mentoring
Effective coaches have often had the good fortune to have been coached by a very good coach. On becoming coaches themselves they may have imitated many of the coaching behaviours and methods used by their previous coaches. This process can be carried on into a coach’s current development through a mentor. A mentor is usually an experienced person who works individually with a less experienced coach. A good mentor is someone, chosen by a coach, whom the coach respects for their knowledge, attitudes and mentoring skills to assist them in their development.
The mentor asks questions about the methods used and guides the coach toward a better understanding of his or her coaching. In selecting a mentor, a coach can reflect on who are the people in their field (not necessarily restricted to other coaches) they admire most, why they admire these people, and what are the admirable qualities they possesses. The answers to these questions will direct coaches to suitable mentors, with whom they can work formally or informally to develop their own unique skills and attributes.
BEHAVIOUR MODIFICATION It is sometimes just as difficult to modify coaching behaviour as it is to modify player behaviour. Coaches who are attempting to modify their own behaviour should try the following strategies: • Identify the behaviour to be modified. • Establish the characteristics of the new behaviour. • Look at models of the new behaviour. • Assess how important the change is – how will it affect the coach’s effectiveness? • Obtain feedback about the behaviour. • Reassess the effects of the change on all coaching tasks.