We should all understand that different coaching styles in sports can have varying effects on athletes, with some styles promoting a positive environment for learning and growth. In contrast, others may be less effective or detrimental to athletes’ progress. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the different coaching styles in sports and their impact on athletes.
As it turns out, I was right when I said that how we treat our athletes can significantly impact their performance and experience.
Different Styles of Coaching in Sports
The Sports Management department of the University of Kansas identifies 5 main different styles of coaching and provides clear definitions of them. The university bases its study and understanding of coaching on leadership studies conducted in the 1930s by Kurt Lewin, a German-American social psychologist and pioneer in the psychological study of group dynamics.
The 3 Main Styles
Authoritarian coaching involves a coach who sets the rules and expectations and demands compliance from athletes. This coaching style is characterized by a high degree of control and “discipline” with little room for athlete input or creativity. While authoritarian coaching can be effective in specific contexts, such as when safety is a concern, it can also be counterproductive and lead to resentment and disengagement among athletes.
Democratic coaching is a collaborative style involving athletes in decision-making and allowing for more input and feedback. This coaching style is characterized by a shared responsibility for success, with the coach and athletes working together to achieve goals. Democratic coaching can effectively promote athlete autonomy, motivation, and creativity and can lead to a positive and engaging environment.
Holistic coaching takes a broader view of the athlete’s experience, focusing on performance and personal growth and well-being. This coaching style emphasizes the development of the whole athlete, including physical, mental, and emotional aspects. Holistic coaching can effectively promote long-term success and well-being for athletes. This style considers not just short-term performance but also the athlete’s overall health and happiness.
If you have read my work before, you understand that my coaching style is mainly democratic and entirely holistic.
Transformational coaching is a style of coaching that emphasizes the development of personal relationships and the growth of athletes as individuals. This coaching style involves inspiring and motivating athletes to achieve their full potential and challenging them to exceed their perceived limits. Transformational coaching can be effective in promoting self-esteem, confidence, and resilience and lead to long-term success and personal growth.
Task-oriented coaching is a style of coaching that emphasizes the completion of specific tasks or goals. This coaching style focuses on performance and results, with less emphasis on personal relationships or athlete well-being. Task-oriented coaching can also be effective in specific contexts, such as competitive environments where performance is the primary goal. Still, it can also be less effective in promoting athlete engagement, motivation, and personal growth.
Other Coaching Styles
Different coaching styles can have varying effects on athletes in sports. While authoritarian coaching can be effective in certain situations, it may lead to resentment and disengagement among athletes.
Democratic coaching can effectively promote athlete autonomy and creativity, while holistic coaching considers the athlete’s overall health and well-being. Transformational coaching can inspire personal growth and long-term success, while task-oriented coaching emphasizes performance and results.
While I subscribe fully to the more positive styles of coaching, by understanding the different coaching styles and their impact on athletes, coaches can choose the most effective style for their athletes and promote a positive and engaging environment for learning and growth.
Thank you for reading.
— Coach José