Coaching Redefined (?)

How would you “define” coaching? As a “coaching science” (whatever science may mean to someone), or as an “educational relationship” between the coach and the athlete? Or as something else? Thanks!

Educational relationship? How long does that go for. When an athlete is top class, they know how to execute and it is now the role of the coach to adjust training to suit changing realities and be the athlete support coordinator- travel, competition schedule, agent buffer, therapy, etc

Thanks, Charlie!
My question stems from something I read. It’s like a discussion between two people supporting these two notions.
At some point the following Q/A appears:
Coaching Science: (interrupting previous saying) OK, OK, but before you go on, I can see that perhaps teaching is an importan aspect in youth and beginner sport, but surely not at the more elite level. I know that some scholars think this is a totally different context altogether.

Educational Relationship: To a certain extent that’s true, but there you go again trying to compartmentalise and simplify coaching knowledge. Just because “high perfromance” coaches work with fewer people and at a higher skill level, does not mean they are not involved in teaching. For example, sensetively facilitating a small innovation in an international high-jumper’s technique, or proactively introducing new lines of defensive organisation through guided discovery to a professional football team, can easily be interpreted as pedagogical acts, can’t they? Perhaps the point to remember is that there are many ways to teach and things to learn, even at the highest level.

Please, don’t take anything of the above as my opinion, it’s just a copy. Besides, I am not 100% clear on this, hence the thread. Just for the sake of a debate for those interested though. There are a few people who have voted; it would be interetsting though to see their rationale, too!

And following Charlie’s comment, it’s perhaps interesting to see the (few) votes, as there is none for “Coaching Science”!
Also, I left the option “Other” free, so people can express via a post what this other definition may mean to them (e.g., a combination between the first two options?).

An Art Nikoluski?

If the coaching were “coaching science” then sport scientists would all be great coaches — which is not true!

I have wrote one short text about qualities of coaches, and on umber one position I put “Communication skills”!!! For me, a coach must be GREAT COMMUNICATOR FIRST!

I have slight problems with this communication skills which I have to “fix”, because of my more introvertic personality! Some books are of great help, like “7 habbits of highly effective people” by Covey, which I have read over summer!

You can have all the “coaching science” on the world, but if you don’t know how to listen the athete and understand him, they you are on the wrong track… We have been taugh all our life to read, to talk, but we have never learned to LISTEN — we haven’t been taugh the skill of listening and observating (body-language)!!!

Dave Tate spoke about this point in a seminar. He said that you can be as smart as hell but suck as a coach because you cannot communicate.

He was like (paraphrases):
“How much of your sport knowledge do you use with your athlete on a daily basis? 20% or less? ok but what if you’re not a good communicator? Then you suck.”

He then went on to say “give me a guy with a PhD in communication…very skilled… who can convey ideas, read body language, bond with the athlete, etc. I will teach him the 20% of what you actually use in coaching and tell him to stick to that. I bet he’ll be a pretty damn good coach”.

His point was that communication skills are more important than ‘advanced scientific knowledge’. I think this is especially true in recruiting ventures.

We’re all students
No we’re all teachers …
No Students …

Aww forget it … I don’t know what I am… I know what I do

I think people are afraid to vote for “Coaching Science” here because of previous discussions in the forum. And that’s why I said in the first post “whatever science may mean to someone”. It doesn’t have to relate to lab tests, white coats, etc IMO.

no23, you seem a bit lost! :stuck_out_tongue: But to comment on your first post here, the “art” form (you said it) can be something in between the first two options partly for reasons explained by duxx. Now duxx tends to take more the “educational relationship” side in the sense that a teacher is also almost useless without good communication skills. But I don’t want to put words into his mouth (although I’ve already done it! :stuck_out_tongue: )

Can one exist without the other? And if not, can the “answer” be somewhere between? Or is it in a completely different dimension?

PJ has frequently talked about a more holistic approach of the whole thing with his athletes (based on his postcards, etc). Of course his situation is not what you would call “normal”, but where would he stand, I wonder… :wink:

Or pakewi with all his gadgets? :smiley:


Or James Colbert and this famous thermometer!


Nikoluski, why we should be so exclusive… this or that… it is both… it is about a degree!!

I don’t know if you are familiar with Adizes menadgement, stating that no one menager (BTW, coach is operative menager) is perferct. He based his approach on PAEI principles (PAEI is perfect menager – which is imposible). P=Productivness, A=Assembler, E=#$!@$ Creativity I=Integrator (I am not sure about this menagement roles — gotta check in book).So he concludes that the menagement team should be perfect… So, coach should have somoene on his side, in his team, to fullfill all the menagement roles!!! Cut to the chase: no coach is perfect — but the menagement team (coach, s/c coach, physiol…) CAN and SHOULD be perfect (Fulfill all Adizeses Roles of a good menagement)… Hope this helps

pakewi’s gadgets are practical though, to say the least!

duxx, I’ve stopped being dogmatic about anything some time ago! :slight_smile:

Charlie raised a fair point, but I am not sure if the copied piece posted answered his question to some extent. Perhaps it would fair to ask at what point this issue stops being exclusively the coach’s concern and starts becoming -partly at least- the athlete’s as well (i.e., more active participation)… How does it shift over time for each of them? I could see it going opossite directions really…

Thanks for everyone’s contribution!

Don’t place one emphasis on one particular trait or area. When u isolate rather than integrate you F…k up! That what some sports scientists and coaches do.

There are some great “communicators” in the coaching world but its a shame their knowledge is lacking. Yet people are sold over by the bs talk. Coaching and science are often opposed to one another “they are: in the sense that the thumb and fingers of my hand are opposed to one another. It is an opposition by means of which anything can be grasped.”

I would say coaching is akin to “designing” - in that it has both rational and affective process and uses both intuition and logic.

I think the question for the “science” option is can you have coaching without human involvement?

I think you need an invitation! :stuck_out_tongue:
Go on then, I am curious! Thanks!

Does “science” in the broad sense has to be exclusive of the human involvement? When you analyse things in a more literal sense, don’t you always take into account “personalities”?
The “answer” (not that you need one) to your question is I don’t think so.

While what I posted was part in jest it was serious too … we are always learning from others, from experience (students) and always coaching (teaching - which IMO is communicating too)

Problem is that highly effective people avoid coaching cause it doesn’t pay enough!!
Seriously, listening entails setting the stage to hear ANY answer the athlete wants to give.

Being highly effective and succesfull doesn’t neccesarily means money making… money is rather a by product of your quality (what you already know Charlie) — it is not a goal or sucessfulness criteria — you are very sucessfull Charlie, doing what you love to do and make money from it —> you “teach us” here via your products (quality), and we love/want be be taught, to hear what you have to say — so it is a win-win situation here!
I would really suggest looking at the book I have mentioned… I thought it was about money making, but it is NOT… it is about realizing your deep principal goals (and descovering it)! It is very usefull for training too — it covers a principle called “production/production capacity” which is very usefull and true (it can be looked as SPP/GPP ratios etc). Two words: GET IT!

Come on! It was a joke! It’s always worth looking into being more productive.