-Coaching styles from athlete view

Disregarding the sport one is participating in, coaching style depends on the coach and not reliant on other factors. While things like personnel and age can influence a coach’s behavior/tactics, many have a core set of principles or philosophy that they go by. Being in the position of the athlete, I have been able to experience different coaches and their styles from the variety of sports I have taken part in over the years. I have had both good and bad experiences on teams due to the way coaches run the dynamic of the team.

There are coaches that go off a more positive way of training and others that use negative ways to motivate and make the team better. Positive reinforcement is a way to keep up the athlete’s confidence and help them strive to do better. On the negative side, when an athlete makes a wrong move, the punishment is physically demanding to drill the lesson into the athlete head. While I may be stating the obvious, it is interesting to realize this differential and recognize how you work best with coach’s feedback and styles. I personally like a balance of the two, because I need the negative side to motivate me to do better but the positive side to know I am making improvements. And due to the different ways people respond to feedback from a coach help decipher what type of coaching is best for you. In the past few years I have switched between sports and had the opportunity to work with different coaches.

In high school, the coach of the soccer team was also a teacher so his relationship with all of the players was very different than most. He knew us all in depth and knew how he could effectively get through to us. We were a close-knit team and his style was all about working hard for what we wanted and never messing up the little things. Being able to function as a team was very important. I always though of this quote when he reminded us of the little things, “Don’t practice until you get it right, but practice to never get it wrong”. He used a mix of positive and negative coaching and personally I think it worked well for the team and kept us motivated and always striving for more. We had a lot of raw talent on the team and he knew how to put it all together and be the best team we could be. That was definitely one of the better coaching experiences I have had, and being on a team that enjoyed to be around each other helped.

I joined the Mt. Baker rowing team earlier this year and was put in a position I have never been in before. While I asked to be on the varsity team, without any rowing experience and everyone on the team had known each other for a number of years, it was a hard start to the season. For awhile I was the only one being yelled at and called out and it was hard to focus on al the things I was learning.  Eventually I was integrated into the team, and it got a little easier. The coaches and the team did a good job of incorporating everyone but when it came to learning the skills, I was stuck to learn on my own and follow others on the team. While this might have been effective for other athletes, I need a coach or authority to watch me and motivate me to work hard. While that might not be the best quality as an athlete, it has taught me a lot through the season so far.

I have had other coaches that favor certain people on teams, which makes the dynamic of it very tense and hard to work through, and also coaches that solely use positive feedback and encouragement to keep everyone happy and care less about the outcome. I had Tricia as a coach for many years when I was younger and now I get the perspective of getting to see her coach instead of being the one getting coached. It has been a couple weeks now into my senior project, and being able to observe Tricia and the way she coaches gives me a whole other perspective on coaching. And being able to get this different perspective and experience at the gym has helped me gain more knowledge about sports psychology which is one of the goals I had coming into this internship.


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