Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Book Review - Successful Coaching - Part III of the Story

Section II of Successful Coaching; America's Best Selling Coaching Book introduces the coach to some simple principles of sports psychology. The books defines sports psychology as "...understanding why athletes and coaches behave as they do...".

In chapter 3, the topic is on how to evaluate your communication skills. Although not what I would traditionally consider sports psychology the chapter captures a basic model for communication, the importance of observing your nonverbal communication, and eight poor communication styles that coaches should avoid.

Pictured Above: The end of women's tryouts last weekend finished with a hill run (photo courtesy of Jaleel)

Next, chapter 4 provides some ideas on how to improve your communication skills. The emphasis is on positive communication, but even more important is the content of the message. I think this is a great point for all coaches and players; if you're going to be critical then provide specific feedback on improving the performance.

The next chapter deals with reinforcement principles to push your athletes to a desired behaviour. The two choices of reinforcement styles are rewards for good behaviour and consequences for bad. Sticking with the positive theme of the book, rewards are the preferred reinforcement approach and are to be given early and often in developing skills and reduced as a skill is developed by the athlete. The chapter also gives specific examples of appropriate times to reinforce behaviour, and a set of guide lines to deal with misbehavior.

Chapter 6 discusses motivation all based on the premise, "People are motivated to fulfill their needs". This is the best chapter in this section with a good introduction to how athletes are motivated and what are some of the conditions needed to get into the "flow" or "zone".

All four of these chapters are a good introduction for an Ultimate coach or captain on how to understand the athletes on your team and a successful approach on how to communicate the right things to them. I found reading the four chapters reminded me of the importance of my own skills and its impact on pushing a team forward.



Warren said...

these all sound like interesting topics.. any examples, anecdotes of these? would love to hear about a couple examples of "things you knew but never really thought about" or "really simple things you should know"