Essay: Football coaching

Student is currently doing a football coaching and performance degree at the university of south wales and was successful in the application to become the university of south wales football second team assistant coach and performance analyst for the academic year 2014/2015 to do his work placement. According to May and Veitch, (1998) the fundamental educational experience for students can be acquired from work based practice or vocational practice. The main purpose of the work placement was to support the individual to involve in the reflective process, which will inspire the individual’s personal and professional development (Colley, Hodkinson and Malcom, 2002).
Work placement also allows the exploration of work experience to help the individual to understand the importance of reflection. Lyle and Cushion (2010) state that when it comes to gaining experience in coaching, there is no replacement for experience. This claim is supported by Ericsson (1998), whose research shows that to become an expert coach in the field of coaching, the individual should have a minimum of ten years experience. Vickers and Bavister (2005) studies show that coaches who can reflect on their experience are the once who are able achieve success regularly. Thus, the individual is encouraged to complete the activities that will enable him to find the style best suited for developing learning for current and future career and employability.

The first critical incidents happened on 6 October 2014, that was student’s first day at the work placement. Following student’s wish to involve more in coaching to gain more experience, head coach gave an opportunity for him to assist the sessions. The desired tasks from the student that should be done throughout the session has been explained to him, that concerned preparation for basic warm ups and fixing cones for the training session. The student felt comfortable with such tasks, due to gaining experience in this area through the ‘football coaching’ course at University of South Wales. Once the student had arrived at training session, the head coach received him and explained the student what they are aiming to do for that day. While the individual started to set up the cones for warm up, the head coach took control of the players and instructed all the players to form a straight line; the type of coaching used by the head coach was autocratic approach. Once the individual (student) was done with placing the cones, the head coach (mentor) introduced the student to the players and told them that for the remainder of the season the individual will be working with university team.
The first training session then started and ran well with just a couple of interruptions throughout the session. At the point once the individual had completed the warm up, the mentor took the responsibility and drove the remainder of the training session. Toward the end of the primary session the head coach requested the individual to place the cones for next session. There have been plenty of interruptions throughout the second training session compared to previous training session and most of the players were obtaining restless that led the mentor to get irritated and angry. Once few warning mentor then determined to grant punishments for the players who are behaving badly during the training sessions. This led to the student’s first critical incident at work placement. Few players were dribbling and playing with the ball during the second section, while mentor was speaking, this made mentor to get really angry and he then started to verbally abuse the players and then demand the players to run three times around the training pitch as a penalty. According to the individual this situation made the players upset and stressed.
When the primary training session began student felt somewhat nervous and troubled, since student failed to have any clue regarding the expectations of the head coach, as this was his first time operating this with head coach. Since the individual had less experience working in football industry, the individual’s feeling of lack of experience created him to question his own capability. The individual felt quite uneasy throughout training session, since he had never been in a coaching situation where the players were punished during the training sessions. This incident made the individual to inquiry whether or not some of the behaviors throughout the training session should be accepted or not. This conjointly created the individual to question what type of example this might produce for each the student as an observing coach and for the players who were not punished.
Reflecting on the session, the individual failed to feel as if he was in a very position to challenge the coach’s behavior, since the individual had less experience, and he was new to the training session. After the incident the players were very upset and stressed. Instead of encouraging and motivating the players, at that moment the individual failed to do something, that was a wrong think to try and do. Since the individual failed to have any previous work experience with this coach, the individual failed to need the coach to suppose that the individual was attempting to be arrogant, since for gaining additional experience the involvements on coaching sessions is important. Generally, when considering the incident the individual felt that he had shown poor coaching practice, since the individual neglected to respond to the situation even though he knew that something was wrong, although the reaction at moment was most acceptable for individual’s future. This is often supported by reflective log of the individual, as he really knew what he should have done at that time, however, the individual rather choose to do what he felt was the most appropriate for the situation.
According to the individual, the mentor’s behaviour during the session was making the player to feel demotivated and few of the coaching methods were too much for the player’s standard. According to the research done by Raakman, Dorsch and Rhind (2010), when considering the different categories of abuse in sports coaching, the sort of abuse that is used most generally used by coach’s while working with athletes is indirect psychological abuse (in this case verbal abuse). From the study, during this incident the head coach has also used direct physical abuse (laps around the pitch).
When working with athletes the coaches have their own person style and approach towards coaching. According to researches by Pyke (1991), a coach cannot use similar style or approach effectively for coaching different kinds of athletes, however they must use different types of coaching styles and approach to satisfy the wants of the athletes. In association to current critical incident according to the individual, the players had lost their interest for the session and the mentor was not giving any freedom or choices for the players that show that the coaching style used by coach was terribly autocratic style of coaching. Democratic style of coaching is the best way to overcome this autocratic coaching style by involving within the session. This claim can be supported according to the studies by Tenenbaum and Eklund (2007), within which coaching behaviours is separated into many dimensions with regard to the coaching nature. According to researches from Mosston & Ashworth (1990), the coaching styles, which are the refection of coach’s decision making, are autocratic coaching styles and democratic coaching style. According to the studies of Gill and Williams (1986) in autocratic style coaching, the approaches used by coaches are exceptionally ‘coach led and directive’. According to the researches by Lyle (1999) the set of rules and instructions provided by the coaches should be directly followed by to the athletes. Studies by Martens (2000) shows that an autocratic approach should be taken when a coach is trying to teach the athletes who are beginners to field, the coaches should provide instruction to the athletes since they does not have any basic knowledge about the sports field.
This critical incident was clear for the individual, although this situation caught the individual by surprise, since the individual had never used or seen this style of coaching before. After going through the literature the individual realised that there are a lot of coaching ways that may be applied during this situation by the head coach while not giving any punishment. The individual was in a position replicate on the individual’s own personal practice and was also successful to identify his weaknesses within the coaching. But the individual currently has the experience with this sort of situation and so feel that if this situation ever arose once more within the future, the individual would be better prepared to overcome the situation in a very proper way. One such way within which the individual may initiate this situation would be to have a meeting with the head coach before the training and discuss what they are going to do in the session, which might be best for the athletes.

The second critical incidents occurred for the individual on 8 December 2014, which was his 19th day at work. The week before the incident occurred, the head coach had informed the student that he would be unavailable for one week training session, since he should go for a UEFA A license conference. And during this time the student should take care of the team and run the training session for the university 2nd team. Also the head coach had informed the student that he would drop all the required equipment for the training sessions at the reception of university of south wales sports park. Once the individual arrived at the reception on training day, he was informed that the head coach had not left any equipment for the training session. This then left the individual to search out of balls, cones, bibs, first aid kit, etc. by himself, since without this equipment’s the individual cannot the run the session. Luckily, the session was running at the university sports park. Since the individual was a sports student at the university, he was allowed to access the equipment’s that is required for the training.
The training day was not that good, since it had been raining heavily and a few of the players came late for the training. Once all the players had arrived for the training it had been simply a matter of time to get the players into groups and to get the session started. The training sessions was going in a normal way, even though it had been not well organised. All of unexpected, the first team coach, who was in the other side of the training pitch, came to look at the second team training session. The first team coach then started to become annoyed and frustrated with training session as a result of the lack of organisation, a number of that was directed at the individual. Once the training session was finished the individual had walked to the first team coach and explained his situation. Then the first team coach was convinced that the individual was upset regarding the incidents happened before the training and therefore the lack of organisation was not the individual’s mistake and therefore the first team coach apologised to the individual for over reacting.
When the individual had found out that the head coach had left no equipment at the sports park for training, the individual got panicked and was worried whether the individual will able to run the session or he should cancel the training session. Once the individual got the permission to access the equipment room from university sports park reception, the individual felt very relaxed, since then the individual knew that he will run the training session according to his plans. During the training session when the first team coach became frustrated regarding the individual’s lack of organisation skills, the student was very worried that this might negatively have an effect on the individual, and if the head coach would come to know about this, the head coach might not permit the individual to continue and complete his work placement. However, the individual had overcome this, once he explained the situation to the first team coach. Finally, the individual felt very frustrated and let down by his head coach, since the head coach was not organized and responsible to leave the training equipment’s required for the training session. The individual was also angry with himself, since the individual was not well planned for the sessions and thought he would have been better prepared for this, although he had learned this in his class.
When reflecting on the training session the individual felt that he should have planned and prepared the session in a better manner and he may have enquired or got the equipment’s for training before the training day. The individual also felt that he should have kept good contact with the players, in order that to inform the players regarding training time and begin the training according to the scheduled time. The individual felt that lack of experience, planning and naivety was the cause for his poor coaching performance, even though he had the enough knowledge about coaching and training before this incident.
According to studies by Lyle and Cushion (2010), the most important feature of coaching process is planning. Research’s from Gould (1990) and Lyle (1992) also supports that planning is taken into account as one of the most important role in coaching. Lyle and Cushion (2010) also suggests that some ‘pre-determination’ and ‘accounting for consequences’ should be included within the planning process. According to studies by Lynn (2010) when planning a session, there are seven key factors that should be considered:
– Session structure
– Specific activities
– Range of activities
– Time allocated to each activity
– Feedback to athletes
– Equipment
– Athlete safety
This would counsel that the reason for the poor coaching practice by the individual was due to lack of planning. According to the studies by Jones and Wallace, (2005) most of coaches only plan, when a problem arises in the coaching environment. Also studies by Lyle (2007) shows that the planning should be managed on a daily basis by the considering all possibilities, since planning plays a very important role in coaching. According to studies by Lyle and Cushion (2010) when coaching the athlete, the most commonly used method for planning is ‘Plan-do-review’ .The individual felt that lack of planning was the main cause of bad performance by the individual during the training session.
From this critical incident, the main reason for individual’s poor performance was due to lack of preparation and planning. Once going through the researches and literature, it is clear that in order prepare for training session in right way, planning should be done properly and continuously on a daily basis according to the needs of the athletes. When the individual’s looks at his reflective log and analyse the incident, he is able to understand that he had planned the session but had failed to deliver the session on the incident day. This makes the individual to prepare and plan for the session well in hand, in order that the individual will run the session smoothly within the future.

The overall aim of the work placement was to develop and increase the individual’s knowledge, confidence and to gain valuable experience in coaching environment. The student was able to acquire these aims by working with university of south wales football 2nd team, as the work placement provided the individual with a good environment for learning and helped the individual to gain value experience for his future. Since the individual failed to have much coaching experience previously, at the beginning of the work placement the individual believed that when coaching new people, lack of knowledge and experience was his weaknesses (Cote and Gilbert, 2009).
However the individual had gained basic knowledge through completing FAW C license course and other experiences at university that helped the individual in the beginning. Due to lack of knowledge and experience, the individual led into several situations, that the individual was struggling to cope. But through reflection and recorded date on the daily basis helped the individual to overcome these situations. Also the knowledge and experience gained from work placed helped the individual to overcome the problems if the similar situation arose again in the future. Also the individual had used some relevant literature proof as knowledge to overcome some situation. According to studies by Chapman and Hough (1998) evidence base practice is defined as the practice within which the developed coaching knowledge gained from successful past experience will be applied in future similar situation. The individual used this style of practice for rest of his weeks at work placement. As well as increasing individual’s coaching knowledge and experience, the individual was also able gain some useful contacts within football coaching industry, which can be used when he is leaving the university. The most important contacts the individual had made while working at the work placement was his mentor (head coach), as the mentor can provide useful references for his job future interviews within the football industry and granting reference to potential employers.
The individual went to university of south wales football second team for the work placement, the period of work placement was one hundred and forty seven hours over the space of twenty-one weeks. During this time the individual was mentored by head coach of university of south wales football second team. The individual had used the Gibbs Cycle as a method of reflecting on individual’s sessions, this had helped to analyse the performance of the individual throughout the placement and also helped the individual to gain valuable knowledge and experience do differently in future coaching sessions. When considering the work placement as a whole, the experience and knowledge gained from work placement was a success. Since the work placement helped the individual to meet the necessary experience to work in professional environment.

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