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The Roles of the Coach - Part Two

Here are some more of the roles that coaches play in part two of this article.

The Role of the Coach as a Planner
The coach must have the ability to analyze and plan every minute spent on the field, the track, the court, or in the pool. Every effective coach must have definite aims and objectives and meet the needs of each player on the team. Effective planning is the ability to transfer your plans to practices and games. Successful coaches should never depend on trial and error. The coach must be able to make yearly plans, off season plans, pre season plans, season plans, practice plans, game plans, meetings, trips, scouting, budgets, clinics, and workshops. Coaches have a saying, “If you fail to plan, you should plan to fail.”

 

The Coach as a Psychologist
The term psychologist indicates that the coach must be a sport psychologist, a social psychologist, and an educational psychologist. The coach must have knowledge and an understanding of the growth and development characteristics of athletes at their various stages of development, the understanding of group dynamics of the team, and have the ability to be an effective skill teacher. All coaches must have knowledge of learning theory. The coach must be concerned with the total growth of each athlete, that is the physical, mental, emotional, and the social development.

The Coach as a Counselor
To fulfill the role of counselor, the coach must learn that each athlete is a unique individual with basic human needs. The coach’s role as a counselor will help each member of the team in the area of personal development and, at the same time, help the individual fit into the team’s overall goals. In this role, the coach must express empathy and understanding.

The Role of the Coach as a Parent Substitute
In our present day society, the role of the family has changed. Because of busy schedules, many parents seek outside individuals to assume some of their responsibilities, such as the school, the church, and other outside community agencies. The coach does take on this added responsibility as a parent substitute with the members of their team. Since coaches are generally admired, often obeyed, and children respond to them similarly to their parents, this is a role in which society often places a coach. Through my coaching experiences, players have confided in me with topics they didn’t feel comfortable discussing with their parents. Areas of these discussions encompass drugs, stress, academics, and even sexual concerns.

The Role of the Coach as an Administrator
Coaches view their main role as being one of a game strategist and team performance expert. Each coach must be aware that he/she must function as an administrator of the team. The coach must be able to plan; to organize people, events, space, time, travel plans, and money before he/she can even get to the responsibility of team performance. The degree of these areas of the coach’s responsibility will vary with the different levels in which one will be coaching.

The Role of the Coach as a Personnel Manager
As a personnel manager, the coach must work with many different people. The coach must have the ability to work with assistant coaches, the administration, the equipment personnel, the building and grounds people, the secretaries, the bus drivers, the trainers, the media, and the medical personnel. These are just a few of the people with whom the coach must interact besides his/her team members.

The Role of the Coach as a Recruiter
The coach of youth sports will not have to act as a recruiter in working with his or her team. At the high school level, the coach will be asked to assist athletes with college recruiters. Sabock (1985, p.26), a well-known coach educator stated, “Every high school coach in America has a moral obligation and duty to athletics to oversee the recruiting process in the school and to ensure strict adherence to the rules.”

At the college level, all coaches are recruiters of high school athletes. The college coach has the responsibility to be honest and ethical to each athlete they are trying to encourage in attending his or her college or university.

The Coach as a Trainer
The coach must become versed in two areas as a trainer: one of having the expertise in planning a fitness program for his or her team and two as having the individual responsibility for the prevention of athletic injuries of the team. The coach must gain the knowledge of different fitness training programs and the benefits of these programs for the team. If one is not knowledgeable in these areas, the coach must read from sources of fitness authorities or seek out the assistance of people such as the Doctor of Fitness Team.

The coach must have training in dealing with athletic injuries. Many states require that a school have the services of a certified athletic trainer or a physician at athletic contests. But at each practice it is the coach, in most instances, who must act at the athletic trainer for his or her team. For this reason, the coach must obtain First Aid and CPR certification and take a course in the prevention and care of athletic injuries.

The Coach as a Role Model
Coaches are to be positive role models for their players. Whether or not we believe it is fair or not, society holds coaches to a higher standard of behavior than other professionals because they are constantly in the public eye. Many coaches have greater influence over their athletes than their parents and other authoritative figures. Because of this influence, athletes copy the behaviors of their coaches. Many times the behaviors exhibited by a coach reflect the type of behaviors the athletes emulate. The manner in which a coach handles violence in sport; moral and ethical standards; sportsmanship; the manner in which the coach behaves before, during, and after games are just a few areas in which acceptable or unacceptable behaviors will be followed by the team members.

As this article suggests, the coach has to wear many hats both as a person and as a professional. Before considering becoming a coach, each individual must examine the personal qualities he or she possesses and the many roles he or she must play as a coach. To be an effective coach, one must take all these roles seriously. A young coach must learn how to fulfill these roles, whereas, an experienced coach must work at improving his or her performances in these roles.

References

Jones, B. J., Wells, L. J., Peters, R. E., & Johnson, D. J. (1988). Guide to effective coaching: Principles & practices. (2 nd. Ed.). Boston : Allyn and Bacon.

Martens R. (1990) Successful coaching (2 nd ed.). Champaign , IL : Human Kinetics.

Lombardo, B. L. Mancini, V. H., & Wuest, D. A. (1995) The humanistic sport experience: Visions and realities. Dubuque , IA : Brown & Benchmark.

Lombardo, B. L., Caravella-Nadean, T., Castagno, K., & Mancini, V. H., (2002). Sport in the 21 st century: Alternatives for the new millennium. Needham Heights , MA : Pearson Pub.

Sabock, R. J.,(1985). “Recruiting,” Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 56(6), 26.

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