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Coaching Styles

The Two Main Coaching Styles

There are perhaps two coaching styles - autocratic (do as I say) and democratic (involve the athletes in decision making).

The autocratic style could be broken into two types - telling and selling and the democratic style into sharing and allowing. Coaches will use a variety of styles/types depending on the coaching situation.

Autocratic Style - Telling

• The coach decides on what is to be done

• The athletes are not involved in the decision-making

• The coach defines what to do and how to do it

• On a circuit training session the athletes are told the exercises in the circuit.

Autocratic Style - Selling

• The coach decides on what is to be done

• The coach explains what is required and the objectives

• The athletes are encouraged to ask questions to confirm understanding

• The coach defines what to do and how to do it

On a circuit training session the athletes are informed of the exercises in the circuit. The coach explains the object of circuit training and the purpose of each exercise. Athletes can ask questions to clarify any points.

Democratic Style - Sharing

• The coach outlines the training requirements to the athletes

• The coach invites ideas/suggestions from the athletes

• The coach makes the decision based on the athletes' suggestions

• The coach defines what to do and how to do it

• The coach identifies a circuit training session. Athletes identify possible exercises for the circuit. The coach selects from the suggestions a set of exercises.

Democratic Style - Allowing

The coach outlines the training requirements to the athletes

• The coach defines the training conditions

• The athletes brainstorm to explore possible solutions

• The athletes make the decision

• The athletes define what to do and how to do it

• The coach identifies a circuit training session. The coach defines the conditions of the circuit to ensure it is safe and meets the overall objectives of the session. Athletes identify possible exercises for the circuit and then select a set of exercises that meet the coach's conditions.

Four Alternative Coaching Styles

• Command style - direct instruction, coach dictates

• Reciprocal style - athlete takes some responsibility for their own development - monitored by the coach

• Problem solving style - athlete solves problems set by the coach

• Guided discovery - athlete has freedom to explore various options

The bottom line in sports conditioning and fitness training is stress, not mental stress, but adaptive body stress. Athletes must put their bodies under a certain amount of stress to increase physical capabilities. Where the stress loads are appropriate then the athletes' performance will improve but if the stress loads are inappropriate then a state of over-training could come about for the athlete.