There are different styles of coaching. The two main styles that I’ve come across are a “questioning coach” or a “telling coach”; however of course there are more styles of coaching and I aim to learn from as many coaches as I can over my coaching journey.
From observing other coaches, a questioning coach is one who encourages their athletes to think about what they are doing and why they are doing it. This method seems to be used more at the elite and competition level as it’s important that the athlete can go onto the field of play and perform to their best with minimum coaching interference to reach the top level of their sport. Often in this style of coaching, the coach will draw out feedback as well as give feedback and will try to suggest and demonstrate ways to improve on weaknesses, but mainly the athlete takes ownership of decision making. Questioning can also be useful to use with players new to the sport as it promotes independence and helps them to think about the shot process.
In my experience this type of coach tells their athlete what to do and makes most decisions for them. This method is mainly used for younger or newer athletes who are still learning the sport, however it can also be used to teach new skills or tactics. When an athlete trains and competes under a telling style of coaching, the player will tend to have a formula to follow which is set by their coach. This encourages the player to rely on the coach when it comes to competitions which can make it difficult for them to learn to make decisions during a game.
By working with coaches who use a mixture of both questioning and telling styles, I have found that both styles can have some negatives. For example, by questioning an athlete too much they can get confused and might not know what the right thing to do is. However if you always tell an athlete what to do they will rely on the coach too much and won’t be able to make decisions when competing.
I feel if you want to be the best coach it is important to take bits from all the different coaching styles and come up with your own style that suits you and your players.
Lastly, I would like to wish GB Boccia all the best at the Paralympics in Rio, especially the Scottish athletes: Joshua Rowe, Patrick Wilson, Scott McCowan, Gary McCowan, Jamie McCowan, Linda McCowan, Stephen McGuire, Kieran Steer and the throwers’ coach, Claire Morrison.
If you would any more boccia information then please contact me on Lewis.McConnell@scottishdisabilitysport.com.