Coaching practice: turning the camera on yourself
The first section of this paper provides an overview of the current literature on coaching effectiveness and expertise. Although a lack of consensus exists regarding what defines an expert coach we now have a better understanding of the coaching behaviours displayed by coaches. Systematic observation instruments have been used in previous research to identify the behaviours that coaches demonstrate in their coaching practice. This has enabled us to gain a better understanding of ‘what’ expert coaches do as well as identify how closely coaching practice reflects the research related to skill acquisition and athlete learning. More recently research is examining ‘why’ coaches exhibit these behaviours or utilise practice activities and the impact it has on athlete learning, performance and enjoyment. Finally, the use of a web-based video analysis system used to assist coach development is examined. This system provides access for coaches to analyse and annotate videos of expert coaches conducting practice sessions. Video analysis of themselves during practice sessions and competition is another method to assist with self-monitoring and highlight a coach’s strengths and areas for improvement. 2. COACHING EFFECTIVENESS AND EXPERTISE Coaching effectiveness or expertise is difficult to identify and has often been defined by one or more of the following: • an athlete’s level of achievement, e.g. win-loss record; developing national
players; winning premierships or world championships • athlete’s personal attributes, e.g. athlete satisfaction and enjoyment
• a coach’s years of experience, e.g. 10 years coaching and playing experience (Côté and Gilbert, 2009; Horton and Deakin, 2008)
Whilst at the elite level winning is of primary importance, other factors may better demonstrate a coach’s performance. Similarly, the athletic result is not solely dependent on the coach’s performance − player talent can be restricted due to salary cap and draft pressures, and injuries sustained by senior players are all influencing variables. In proposing a new definition of coaching effectiveness Côté and Gilbert (2009) question whether any research exists on expert coaches as the inclusion criteria has relied on experience or performance records. Their definition states coaching effectiveness is ‘The consistent application of integrated professional, interpersonal, and intrapersonal knowledge to improve athletes’ competence, confidence, connection, and character in specific coaching contexts’ (p. 316).