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Every coach has a different style in which they deliver their session and message to the players. How do you deliver yours?

I have a clear coaching philosophy, I want to create an environment in which players feel valued, are part of the process and facilitate the development of individuals and teams across different environments,

However, the way I deliver my message may change depending on:

1.       The group I have in front of me

2.       The age and stage of individuals

3.       The weather

4.       The environment (performance, play for fun etc.)

5.       How much time you have with the players/group


I tend to use a blend of the below, selecting the right approach at the right time for the group or individual.

  •  Trial and Error - Players are encouraged to find solutions with minimal support from the coach.
    'Try this for yourself...’
  •  Guided Discovery - Coach asks a question or sets a challenge.​​​​​​ 
    ‘Can you show me...’
    Be aware that this method could either lead to a player replying verbally which may require an answer so it is important as a coach you are prepared for this, alternatively, a challenge could lead to the player demonstrating it - eg. executing a technique.
  • Observation and Feedback – Coach and players observe, discuss and feedback.
    ‘Let`s watch this, what do you notice...’
  • Question and Answer – Coach poses a question and players offer solutions.
    ‘What do you think...’
  • Command – Coach tells, explains, and demonstrates how to do something.
    ‘I want you to...’

Before delivering a message to the group, you will need to intervene. As a coach which of the below do you do most?

  • Stop the whole group
  • Work with individuals
  • Group discussions

Each of the above are effective, however, when working with young players I believe it’s important to use Guided Discovery or Trial and Error as much as possible. We want to produce players who are creative and good decision makers.  If we continuously stop the session and tell players what to do, this could impact their long term development.

Female players particularly like to feel part of the process and know the ‘why’ so it’s important to consider this when planning your interventions and how you will deliver your message.

Asking questions and setting challenges is a way to engage the group and develop learning. This could be individual or as a team.

My last piece of advice... it’s important you know your players, what makes individuals tick and how they like to learn. You can then tailor your interventions, coaching style and feedback to suit their needs.

My guess is that you will use a blend of all the above at some point.

Challenge... Try to plan your interventions when planning your sessions and consider which style(s) you will adopt to deliver your message.


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Written By

Abbie Sadler

Women’s High Performance Football Centre Coach Development Officer at the FA and BCWFC WSLA Academy Coach at Bristol City.

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