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The 'tell' style (coach-centred)

We use the 'tell' style when:

  • We have little time to get our message across - perhaps at half time during a game the coach will not have the time to discuss and ask questions of players
  • There are safety concerns - for example, if coaching tackling we need to instruct primarily rather than ask players to find out how to do it by themselves!

The coach-centred coach typically shows the following behaviours:

  • Coaching through drills - practices tend to be very structured with use of progressive drills. These can be unopposed, semi-opposed or opposed. Sometimes the drills are practised without relation to the game.
  • Authoritarian/instructional/didactic - the coach provides lots of instruction and feedback. There is little opportunity for player input and often the coach has a specific technique or method in mind. This coach often rules with an ‘iron-rod’ and is a real disciplinarian.
  • Technique-driven - the coach sets up lots of practices to improve technique. These are typically repetitive and unopposed. The coach often references key factors very well.
  • Focus on performance and emphasis on winning - the coach is concerned more with the result than the development of individuals. This coach tends to have very short term goals and has little consideration for long term player development.
  • Coach makes all decisions and uses a structured approach - the coach has very specific session plans with direct interventions. The coach progresses the session at his/her pace rather than referencing the players’ readiness. This coach is not comfortable when there is chaos within practices.
  • Tell and show - the coach has a very formal structure for introducing practices or skills: ‘tell - show (demonstrate) - do’.
  • Explicit and formal approach - the coach designs and delivers sessions for a specific purpose. Sessions develop in a very structured and formalised way.

In summary, the coach-centred coach:

  • Decides on what is to be done
  • Defines what to do and how to do it
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