After reading the article ‘When did you last change your mind?’ http://scottberkun.com/2014/when-did-you-last-change-your-mind/, it got me thinking about the noticeable changes that I have actually made in relation to my coaching. It allowed me to identify the methods I am now using compared to the methods that I used to use.
The main change that I have picked up on is the style of coaching which I use week in week out. When I started off coaching I did not really have much knowledge on the various methods that are used however If I were to give the style I used a heading, it would be a blocked kind of approach. My coaching mainly consisted of drills that I had previously done or new ones that I discovered. Sometimes the drills that I actually carried out were fairly simple drills so they didn’t actually challenge the participants within each session. However university and academic reading has led me to discover that in fact random practice generates a lot more learning than blocked practice (Ackland et al., 2008). Consequently when I was coaching I should have really have used blocked practice to develop the technique and then follow it up with random practice to test the technique in a game style situation to see if it can be implemented.
However I now use more of a game based approach if I’m being honest. This was because I believe that it gives players a lot more freedom which can benefit them significantly when playing in a match. In addition to this it gives players the chance to think for themselves a lot more as opposed to me telling them every 2 minutes of what to do. The United States Tennis Association state that game based approaches allow players to become more complete through continuous playing (UST Accociation, 2004). Consequently I believe that the change I made in relation to my style was the correct one as I have also seen the benefits for the team that I coach. The players within my team can play sensationally in training however when it comes to a game they seem like a totally different player. Therefore recreating a game like scenario each week will get the players used to performing skills under pressure on a match day and this will hopefully have a positive impact on their match results.
The benefits have actually been very noticeable by not only me and Alex but by the parents too. We coach a session each week for an hour and our main aim is to improve the player’s footwork as this is a weakness for many of the players. However as we have only had the team for around a month now it is obviously going to be difficult to turn the results round at the click of a finger. Even with this parents have complimented our coaching methods stating that they are a lot more structured and beneficial for the players and their motivation levels. As a result I believe that my new coaching style has had a significant impact on the players and their development too which is all good news for me.
Ackland, T.R., Elliott, B.C., Bloomfield, J., Ackl, T. and Bloomfield, J. (2008) Applied anatomy and Biomechancis in sport – 2nd edition. 2nd edn. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics Publishers.
Association, U.S.T. (2004) Coaching tennis successfully – 2nd edition. 2nd edn. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics Publishers.