The above info-graphic displays the six characteristics needed to be a good grass roots coach in my opinion. I decided to pick a grass roots coach as it fits into my coaching context at Sir Tom Finney Football Club. Below I will expand on each point and explain why I believe they are important in relation to being a good grass roots coach…
Being a motivator is a extremely important characteristic when coaching and especially when coaching at grass roots. This is because it is the best way of getting the best out of players. If a coach does not motivate his/her players then the players may lose interest and mess around as they feel that the coach doesn’t really care. Sometimes motivation comes from inside (intrinsic) however extrinsic motivation (from coaches for example) can be much more beneficial. Cassidy, Jones and Potrac (2008) state that “There is an increased recognition that such an understanding of motivation is critical to the delivery of high quality coaching practice”. Therefore many more people are realising that motivation has a large impact on the quality of coaching that is being delivered and as a result has huge importance when coaching in my opinion.
Secondly a coach must have good time-management.But why is this? Well it is quite straight forward to be honest. A coach must ensure that they arrive to the training sessions and matches as well as any manager meetings on time. The coach must be the first person to arrive and then also the last person to leave at any match or training session. If the coach arrives early then they can set up and sort any issues out prior to the players arriving and as a result this will allow the session to run smoothly and for the full designated time.Robinson (2014) states that “Time management is one of the fundamental aspects of management and the coach must set a good example of arriving at practices, venues and meetings in plenty of time”. This backs up my opinion regarding the importance of time management. If the coaches don’t turn up on time then why should the participants bother turning up on time too?
Another crucial aspect of being a god coach is being organised.It is probably one of the most important aspects to coaching. This is because if you are not organised then your team will suffer. This could be anything from forgetting equipment to even not letting your players know where the match at the weekend is. The coaching session itself must be organised too so that the participants know what they are doing and what they are moving on to next so that it is beneficial to their learning. SportsCoachUK (2016) states that “Systematic planning is crucial to ensure progress and for performers to achieve their goals”. Therefore, if the coach isn’t organised then it can effect the performers chances of achieving their goals and as a result will affect morale within the team too.
The fourth sign of a good coach in my opinion is being development focused. The reason behind me picking this is because at grass roots it is not about winning, well in my opinion anyway. Yes, winning is nice but the players development is without a doubt more important than anything else. Sometimes players will get annoyed that they lose however at this level development of participants is the highest priority. Pressure shouldn’t be put on players at a young age as it is their time to develop. Dewsnip (2013). This is stated in the Essex FA’s “Their Game” document and it explains that the focus should be on the development and this is how I feel it should be too. Don’t get me wrong I like winning but at a young age especially at this level, playing the right way is crucial.
Being an approachable coach is massive in relation to communicating with your participants as well as other coaches and parents. If you don’t put yourself across as a someone who is approachable then the participants won’t feel comfortable coming up to you with any issues they have. The participants should see the coach as their friend that they can speak to whenever. SportsCoachUK (2012) found that youth athletes wanted their coaches to be approachable, friendly and fun. If the coaches know the performers individually then the participants will find it much easier to talk to their coach about their issues. Similarly if the parents have any issues then they will want to speak to the coach and as long as they portray themselves as approachable then it will not be an issue.
The final sign of a good grass roots coach in my opinion is respect. This comes from everyone involved at the club. The coach must respect the players, parents, officials and opposition. The players must respect the coach, parents, officials and opposition. Finally the parents must respect the coach, players, officials and opposition too. Every player must be respected and treated like any other no matter what their background is. Respect has to be earned and being approachable as mentioned previously can significantly help. Hassan, Dowling and McConkey (2014) state that “All coaches must respect and champion the rights of every individual to participate in sport”. I completely agree with this statement and in my opinion it sums up how sport should be played – with respect.
Cassidy, T.G., Jones, R.L. and Potrac, P. (2008) Understanding sports coaching: The social, cultural and pedagogical foundations of coaching practice. New York: Routledge.
Dewsnip, N. (2013) THEIR GAME. [Online]. Available at: http://www.essexfa.com/~/media/countysites/essexfa/documents/miscellaneous/winning-v-development—grassroots-and-professional-views.ashx (Accessed: 19 March 2016).
Hassan, D., Dowling, S. and McConkey, R. (2014) Sport, coaching and intellectual disability. United Kingdom: Routledge.
Robinson, P.E. (2014) Foundations of sports coaching. United Kingdom: Routledge.
Sports Coach UK (2012) Identifying excellent coaching practice along the sporting pathway research briefing no.2: The youth coaching environment. [Online]. Available at: https://www.sportscoachuk.org/sites/default/files/Excellent-Coaching-Practice-Youth-Coaching-Environment.pdf (Accessed: 19 March 2016).
Sports Coach UK (2016) Top tips: Skills and qualities of a coach skills and qualities of a coach top tips. [Online]. Available at: https://www.sportscoachuk.org/sites/default/files/top-tips-skills-and-qualities.pdf (Accessed: 19 March 2016).