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Posted in: General

What is your coaching philosophy?

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  • robertkmaaye

    In 'Howzat! simply does it for up-and-coming coach' 2010 England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and sports coach UK Young Coach of the Year Mike Bohndiek explained his key philosophies for coaching remain the same today as they were five years ago during his first flush of success:

    ‘Make the sport accessible to as many young players as possible and ensure coaching is tailored to encourage participants to stay in the sport, to thrive, and to have fun – and be the best they possibly can.’

    I’m interested to know what is your coaching philosophy?

    Has it always been the same?

    If not what/whom made you alter it?

    Look forward to reading your responses.

  • LawrieOK

    "Dedicated pursuit of the process that empowers athletes to be the best they can be along their unique performance pathway."

    TBH writing a coaching philosphy was never easy for me. Seem to recall being asked to do this at L1 or ano early workshop, but have struggled over the years to refine my thoughts. No doubt it will continue to evolve as I travel along my own performance pathway too.

    I have always wanted to give something back to my sport, as I have had so much enjoyment from it. This desire let me umpire at the same levels I played at throughout my playing career all the way to National and International. Coaching has been a part of my life for the last 11 years, so my journey is still young.

    As I have expanded my knowledge, and experienced more coaching, so my philosophy has gradually been tweaked rather than 'changed' - the words may have been altered but the sentiments are enduring.

    Great question Robert.

  • saranicolehilton

    I believe that a coach's philosophy should always relate and be relevant to the environment in which they coach. That is, a philosophy of a grassroots coach would be rather different to a premier league first team coach. Some elements to each philosophy may mirror each other but generally if will differ. That is because the pressure and needs within that environment are different. However, it's the core components within each coaching philosophy that, in my opinion, must remain true to what the coach wants. Aspects may change as the environment/level/ability changes but a coach must hold tight to the values within that philosophy. 


    On any of the grassroots coaching courses that I conduct, I discuss this with the coaches. I believe it is vital for a coach to have a clear and transparent understanding of their philosophy and stick to the core elements of it. If cracks start appearing within philosophy, it opens up the opportunity for others such as parents to start challenging your decisions. If a coach has a solid philosophy and questions are asked, it is much easier to deal with. 


    Others may disagree and that's fine, but to me it's not just having a philosophy that is important.. but it's believing in your philosophy and keeping a few consistent elements within its core. 

  • LawrieOK

    This appeared in my Twitter feed today:-

    McCaw Method @AllistairMcCaw

    Coaches: Three questions to ask yourself:

    1. Why do you coach?

    2. What is your phiosophy?

    3. How do you measure success?

  • robertkmaaye
    On , said:

    This appeared in my Twitter feed today:-

    McCaw Method @AllistairMcCaw

    Coaches: Three questions to ask yourself:

    1. Why do you coach?

    2. What is your phiosophy?

    3. How do you measure success?

    Thanks Lawrie. We had some interesting replies on an earlier thread posted by another member Paul Farrington on how different coaches measure their success. As Sara mentions above replies differed very much based on the environment they coached in. Be great to know how you measure success in your coaching? Feel free to reply to Paul if you wish

  • cchapman

    I think your coaching philosophy is very much linked to your values as a person.  They are inextricably linked, although the way we approach our coaching differs depending on the athlete's expectations and the environment.

    My coaching is very much person centred and driven by my personal need to help people.  As a young person I supporting PE in a primary school and helped at a PHaB club swimming sessions.  This desire to help and support people continued as I began my PE teacher training, teaching and into my coaching.

    I have always chosen to work with young people (up to the age of 20) to help them be the best that they can be, challenge themselves and see their potential inside.  I have been fortunate to coach in a range environments and learned from many players.  The approaches and methods I have used on the field and off have changed depending on the players experience, ability, aspirations and stage/environment but my values have remained the same.

    Experiences, reflections on my coaching, advice and support from some expert coaches have all helped me shape my coaching practice, session structure and the development of a more holistic and developmental approach to coaching; these tools have all helped me support the players, live my values and maintain my philosophy.

    What is your coaching philiosophy and how did you shape it?

  • andrewb62
    Lawrie O'Keeffe said:

    writing a coaching philosphy was never easy

    A very pertinent observation, Lawrie - how do you put into a few words an entire system of personal beliefs and experiences?

    I have never yet managed to capture my own coaching philosophy to my own satisfaction - I have tried (e.g. "Towards a philosophy of coaching" and "More on coaching philosophy - getting better at getting better?") but ended up havng to explain (to myself) what I had written!

    The other challenge is to be able to live up to the philosophy - does every session I run, whether with a group of 3- and 4-year olds or a 63-year old wicket keeper, really focus on "getting better"?

    Not really.

    What I actually do (what I try to do) is to open the players' eyes to possibilities - "if you catch that ball, we will all cheer for you" or "keep trying, you'll get it next time" - and only then encouraging the player to strive for achievement (however small).

    So - a new "philosophy" - "helping players to see what is possible".

  • andrewb62
    On 20/07/15 19:07, Sara Hilton said:

    a coach's philosophy should always relate and be relevant to the environment in which they coach

    Very true, Sara - no point "striving for excellence" if all your group of 5-year olds want to do is kick a ball around the field with ther friends!

    But I think you have hit on a deeper question.

    Can a coach adopt different philosophies to suit the differing environments in which they are working?

    I'd say "no" to this (taking a slightly fundamentalist reading of the expression "your coaching philosophy", admittedly) - you are who you are, and a "participation" coach could ony ever give a poor impersonation of a "performance" coach.

    Personally, I am perfectly happy (and appropriately challenged) working at the participation level (as an ECB level II coach in the "community" environment).

    Happy to be the very best level II that I can be, and to carry on working with my groups of U11s and U7s.  Showing them what they might be able to achieve, and encouraging their enthusiasm for learning.

    I do do a little bit of coaching with players who are on the "performance" pathway, but with them my input is mostly non-technical.  I encourage them to think about their own game, and to challenge themselves.  I'll play up the "mentor" role, where it is appropriate (the mostly grey beard helps with this!).  But I wouldn't dream of telling them how to bat, or how to prepare for a big match.

    A philosophy?  "Be true to yourself", perhaps.

  • JonWhittingham

    I am currently going through a process of re-determining my coaching philosophy as part of a development course I am on so it is interesting to read the other responses to the question. 

    My philosophy has definitely changed over the years as I have picked up new knowledge and experience. When I first got involved as a coach, I was very naive so was probably quite narrow in my focus but now I subcribe very much to the player-centred approach and giving players ownership around their learning. Working within disability football, I have always been one for ensuring that sport is open to everyone; it simply requires tweaking as you come across different players. 

    For me, it has been a case of experimentation and finding what matches in with my views in a wider context than simply sport. Working alongside and being mentored by other experienced coaches at The FA have certainly altered my views but I don't subscribe to everything that they do. 

    I would agree with Sara that having a philosophy is all well and good but keeping the core elements, those which are strongly pertinent to me as a person, and following through with it is argubly most important as it keeps you true to who you are.

  • Mhebden15

    A coaching philosophy is something I have found hard to write down in just a few sentences - it's nice to read that others have the same difficulty! I always try to adapt a player centred approach and as much as possible try to coach through game-play ensuring that activities regardless of the skill/topic will reflect the situations players find themselves in during matches. My philosophy currently is

    ' To provide an environment where players are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning and feel comfortable to question/challenge and suggest new ideas. I am to make every activity game-related allowing for plenty of decision making regardless of the topic/skill that is being developed'

  • tonylibert

    play is my philosophy

    10 years of travel play followed by 22 years of high school and now back at U10with son. Play and enjoy and learn and problem solve and create. PLAY When a teenage boy is having troubles I offer play. When my son feels like a world beater,play. When a bad call is made ,play. When a parent is upset let them know you afford their child a safe healthy environment for play. When it rains lets play. When we are tired lets play. When we need a break...

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