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The 'ask' style

We use the 'ask' style when:

  • We have more time to coach
  • We want to involve the players in their learning
  • We want to develop leaders in our teams
  • We want to develop players who will be able to make decisions for themselves on the field

When using the 'ask' style, the coach:

  • Outlines the training requirements to the players
  • Invites ideas/suggestions from the players
  • Makes the decision based on the players' suggestions
  • Defines what to do and how to do it

The player- (or learner-) centred coach typically shows the following behaviours:

  • Coaching through games - the coach uses games to help players’ understanding and decision making capabilities. The coach may use a ‘whole – part – whole’ approach where sessions start with a conditioned and opposed game, then specific skill weaknesses are worked on, and finally the coach returns to the game. This coach is not afraid of chaos and players making mistakes. This, in turn, gives players the confidence to express themselves rather than being fearful of failure.
  • Questioning for understanding - the coach continually checks for players’ understanding. This can be physical or verbal questioning. Be wary that the verbal questioning does not take too long. This coach takes time to listen.
  • Needs of learner/individualised learning - sessions and practices are designed and amended according to the players’ needs. Practices are often differentiated so that more able players undertake more challenging activities and the weaker players have simpler activities.
  • Emphasis on development - the player-centred coach takes the long term view and puts development before the result. Of course, winning is important but the primary concern for this coach is the development of the individual and team.
  • Democratic leadership - the coach involves other staff and key players in the leadership group. Strategy and tactics are determined by consensus whereby the whole group agree on the way forward. The coach may influence this process. This coach is very open-minded.
  • Hands-off approach - the coach steps back and allows players to express themselves. This coach spends time observing and analysing performance before generating feedback in an interactive manner.
  • Implicit and informal - the coach uses games as the vehicle for coaching. Learning is a by product of the conditioned nature of the games used in practice which enhance decision-making and game awareness.
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