Coaching leadership is an important part of athlete development and sports development in general. Coaches are expected to manage, motivate and lead hundreds of athletes across all age groups, and from across all sporting disciplines. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistic in 2014 alone, there was a total of 250,600 coaches (including 19,946 head coaches, and 45,948 assistant coaches) across all NCAA sports, conferences and divisions. Without these coaches applying effective leadership strategies into their jobs, there would be so many talented sports stars left un-nurtured.
Coaching Leadership and The Role of a Coach
Sports coaches are powerful role models and leaders of their athletes, team brand and community. As a result, coaches play a multifaceted role in the life of athletes. It's a role that goes beyond merely teaching the tenets of a sport. Instead, a coach must be able to properly manage and organise a sports program where they combine a number of elements including the following components:
1: Ethics and Philosophy
By embodying and establishing a philosophy or culture of their own, coaches can teach safe and ethical behaviours for athletes and assistant coaches alike.
2: Injury Prevention and Safety
Coaches are trained to take care of unsafe conditions, equipment and practices, as well as know how to respond to emergency situations.
3: Tactics and Sports Skills
Coaches understand and develop an unique approach to teaching specific skills and strategies needed to excel at their sport.
4: Teaching and Communication
By implementing a positive learning experiences, coaches can maximize an athlete's potential in sports and life.
5: Growth and Development
Coaches are able to gauge skill levels and competition readiness of athletes no matter their age.
6: Administration and Organisation
By providing information on program policies and goals, coaches communicate and facilitate the needs of an athlete in an atmosphere of compliance and accountability
Coaches are able to assess each player’s athletic ability while understanding the needs of the program and recruitment strategies.
In addition to coaching responsibilities mentioned above, there are three main coaching leadership styles: transformational, athlete-centered and autonomy support. Elements of all three styles have a unique value proposition and a coach can make use of best practices such as being mindful of behavioural patterns or using appropriate timing (duration and intensity) in their methods. Learn more about how coaches are applying these leadership styles into their game, with this infographic from Ohio University’s Online Masters in Coaching Education program.
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