This report will intentionally explore the connection (if any) between Junior Football Coach practices and Coaching best practices. A current junior coach has been assessed by assisting to a training session and a ‘game day’, as well as been interviewed. The analysis of his character and actions versus the concept of ‘best practices’ showed a positive result in the goal to archive to comply with the definition. Route of this exploration helped by an evaluation model applied from the sports development and coaching and knowledge acquired on course at Holmesglen. The added textbooks and peer-reviewed lectures highlighted the analysis. As a result of the puzzling judgment, will conclude in the decision if the judgment of his coaching model/style compares to the theory of best coaching practice. The manifestation that a positive matching upshot will happen between the comparisons, it is assumed by the evaluation done in presence of the training session and ‘game’ day. Evaluations will describe a matching perspective the coach behavior, actions and activities to assess the best practice comparison. Recommendations and suggestions based on what viewed at training session/s have been made, with the only intention to help the coach to improve in future training sessions and archive a better outcome.
A Junior Coach from Skye F.C was contacted via e-mail, and Eduardo Pineda replied an accepted attendance required for this report. Two training sessions of this junior sports team were attended in order to research and evaluate coaching methods versus ‘best practice’ coaching. Notes were taken throughout. Also, a short interview was conducted in regard to the experience and history in coaching. Eduardo Pineda is 24 years old and arrived in Australia a few months after leaving El Salvador, place he was born. The main influence during his childhood was his father, involving him in football, sport that he describes as ‘’his main love’’, Eduardo said. He played amateur football for many years until recently decided to follow the coaching pathway offered by the Football Federation of Australia. Early 2019 he completed the Football Coach course Part ‘B’ of the Licence ‘C’ offered by the State Football Federation. Also, he completed the AldiRoos Certificate, to gain experience in managing a team and mentoring kids. He has been in this role of Coaching since January 2019, coaching a total of eleven players, ranging from 5 to 7 years old. He arranged two training sessions during the week, and Saturdays mornings is ‘game day’, who he describes a fun game with many goals, but no scores.
Executive coaching is a growing as a career around the world, particularly for leadership development. More than 70% of formal leadership development programs in organizations use some sort of coaching (Zenger & Stinnett, 2006). A survey stated that coaches spend almost half of their time serving managers at all levels of the organization, not just top-level management (Sherpa Consulting, 2011). Coaching is also becoming increasingly important in Asia with its growing economic and business prominence on the global scene (Wright, Leong, Webb, & Chia, 2010). Different coaching models are in existence, and even more if sport-related. For the sport in analysis, the Football Federation of Australia (FFA) have been leading the way with a long term commitment to the continued support and education of coaches across Australia, visible in the long term ‘Whole of Football’ vision plan (FFA, 2019). The report analysis search for what makes a coaching process an effective one, and through recommendations based on the insights of the coaching model, will provide some useful details for the report. A key variable in the success of any coaching engagement is what training and practices coaches use with their teams. But what exactly are those practices? and what results it has? The report tries to compare the coach evaluated (Eduardo Pineda) versus ‘best practices’ in coaching.
The definition of ‘best practices’ was done by ’A Descriptive Design’ method, seeking to label the current status of a variable (Eduardo Pineda). The tools for this research: Holmesglen Library and peer-reviewed content from articles and textbooks. Google scholar and Internet public articles in conjunction with many audio-visuals coaching styles provided by the Lecturer in-class guided the definition of best practice for this specific analysis. The report conclusion will be stated by a comparison of two variables: the coach and the coaching practices.
Background of the Coach Evaluated
Eduardo is a young and energetic coach. His Latin background shows in his passion for the game. The interaction with the children happens in a natural manner. He communicates loud and clear, and always finishes questioning back if the team understood. He said in the interview that he played the game of football since he was a kid, and adds up that his fist gift, was a football ball. He also affirmed during this chat, that the AldiRoos course provided free by the FFA, gave him the basic plus many more resources to guide him during training sessions and game day. ‘’At this age, it’s all about having fun… and the game is the teacher’’, he said. He knew there was an opportunity in the club by one the children parents, and applied in the club website for the available position.
His personality analysis looks ethical and fair, but strict and personal at the same time. Perception of him as a role model by the team it’s obvious to the assessment. The fact of been all his life attached to football, resemble a trustee feeling within the audience/parents. The permanent interaction with all kids/players encourages admiration as a leader by the parents. With the implementation of new online platforms, he wants to increase the participation numbers for next year. Building a supportive environment, during training, he appears to be in control of the football ecosystem surrounding him.
Defining ‘best practice’ coaching
To better understand the concept of ‘best practices’ coaching, the reports based on the definition of ‘best practices’ as: “Methods and techniques demonstrated and modeled by the executive coaching professional that has been deemed to be effective and practical when applied to specific coaching engagements and contexts.”(Francis, 2011). Assuming as ‘’context’’ in this case scenario, as the manipulation of the rules of the sport, to be played and enjoyed by children.
The leadership techniques are well distinctive by the four leadership theories described by Bass and Avolio. As per context, by a long observation for this report, the ‘Transformational approach’ theory relates to a ‘leaders been charismatic’, which describes Eduardo’s leadership style the most. Accusing this theory, common similitudes, relate with extra identical ‘qualities’ and methods that work well for the coaching process, making this theory one of the more accommodating theories for coaching children of early age. Coaching at this age should facilitate the players discovery of the football objectives, plus basic player actions. All of these, in a fun, interactive, safe environment.
During the training session the coach was well organized. The drills included several benefits thanks to the modified rules applied by the coach. Some examples showed ‘Positioning’ of the player in the pitch, first touch skills, running and striking with the ball and communicating within the team. At the age of these children, all these practices are fundamental to prepare the player functional game skills. The experience of the coach was demonstrated by the structure of the session. The session could be described as a fast paced, active, interactive and fun practice, but more important, with the modified practical methods and rules, they are playing football. Which for this case, this papers settles as the best approach for the ‘best practice’ coaching.
Coaching versus ‘best practice’ coaching and Recommendations
Coaching versus best practice coaching is very difficult to analyze as at such a young age, the best practice is to have the children playing and having fun, in a football environment. And for this evaluation strong argument show best practice been applied during training.
Three strong arguments to support the best practice have been applied with successful results noted can be described as:
- Idealized influence: Being admired, respected and trusted by the players proclaims him as a role model. Great example of many individuals representing the ‘Idealized influence’ of the coach demands.
- Inspirational motivation: Demonstrating passion and confidence always, an asset of this coach, controlling the players’ attention. Each training session consists of a different exercise or drill. Organization in planning the session gives him great results providing intellectual stimulation to all these young minds. Archiving the task proposed by the coach felt like a mutual achievement within the team, even chanting for/to each other’s to support the activity.
- Individual needs: Represented in modifying the activities to be practice by children of such a young age, but still developing motor skills for a possible future player. The individual interaction, the respect to the activity and many other examples relate individual needs been under special attention.
The coach evaluation shows high standards of knowledge and leadership for the position. The lack of an assistant coach could help the timing of the reset in between drills. Also, the possibility to assess the correct execution of the activity. Club resources cannot afford the addition of another coach, then the recommendation is subjective to more resources from the club, not the coach. The low participation numbers do not appear to be related to coach practices.
In this report, we described a coach evaluation in comparison to ‘best practice’ coaching. We argued the leadership type or style, discussed several approaches of the coach practices, ultimately resulting in a discussion about similarities between Eduardo Pineda model and best practice coaching. To conclude identifying his leadership with similar qualities and examples of a ‘Transformational’ leader; who are goal oriented, influence others towards the same objective. While empowers a plan with modified game rules, effectively build skills in his team/players. A strong charismatic character easily managed the young team attention toward playing for a mutual goal, while having fun. Impressive qualities and attitude, undeniably matching Eduardo with coaching best practices.
In addition, understanding what “success” in coaching looks like, and how to measure it, would greatly contribute to the research and practice of coaching. By understanding coaching best practices from the perspective of those who coach, this first step in the research will help other coaches to fine-tune their own approach and learn how to best coach, regardless of circumstance, level in the organization, or cultural context.