I remember when I was a younger sportsperson, the coach was an individual who rocked up at the field, gathered the troops together and guided us through a couple of drills and prepared us for the games the coming weekend.
I can’t recall any of my coaches having a clipboard with them with a defined structured plan of the objectives and goals for that particular session. I can almost guarantee that if I had asked one my coaches back then what the aim of the session was, they would not have been able to narrow it down to a specific answer.
Coaching has evolved in recent times; techniques and methods of coaching have had to change due to the ever-changing world of sport. Sport demands so much more of both player and coach. No longer are coaches only barking orders from the sideline, but coaches in the modern era have to possess sound coaching principles accompanied with sound scientific knowledge.
The paradigm shift in coaching has recently seen the change or focus from coaching being results driven (although very important) to that of being player focused. When referring to player focused, we are now addressing many factors that could affect the player’s performance, such as mental state of mind, socio economic factors, peer pressures when growing up, household environments, schooling etc. Not only should the coach focus on the technical aspects of the game, but also more importantly focus on the factors mentioned above in order to maximize the ability of a player.
I recently attended a coaching course with the Cricket South Africa (CSA) and the refreshing part of this course was the change in approach to “modern day coaching”. The emphasis focused on the understanding of the “why” we do certain things instead of the outcome or result that we traditionally place importance on.
Another important take home message from this course was the fact that coaches spent 80% of the time on technical aspects and only 20%on the mental aspects of the game, yet many incorrect decisions or mistakes that influence games are due to mental aspects of the game. Instead of coaching the correct technique of the shot in isolation, coaches should also understand “why” a player made a decision to play a certain shot that could have resulted in a wicket being lost.
Having an understanding of the scientific principles of movement, coaching Biomechanics and technique of a certain skill within the sport is easy. I have had to however, change my coaching style and approach – ‘my own paradigm shift’, and only now do I understand why.
One aspect that assisted me immensely was when I was going through the eta course curriculum of the Coaching Science qualification, where Psychology of Sport is covered and how to approach and assist players who needs guidance. I was proud of the fact that eta College is contributing and making a difference in the industry by ensuring that we provide current content and literature to best assist our students and hopefully produce holistic coaches that can improve players both on the field of play and off.
Coaches are no longer only ‘experts’ in the industry focusing on the technical aspects of the game, – they now play a bigger role in the development of a player both as a person (most importantly) and then the talent or technical aspects (secondary).
Written by: Aubrey Stout