Coaching Week and the Principles of Great Coaching


Kyle Warner

The late great John Wooden once said, “a coach must never forget that he is a leader and not merely a person with authority.” This very philosophy enabled Wooden to become one of the most successful, well-renowned coaches of the 20th century.

Coaching, in many ways, can be considered the genesis of success not just in sport, but also in life. Coaching plays a vital role in sport as it is crucial in order to become the best player, team, or person you can be.

Coaching, while it comes more naturally to some, can be broken down and taught to almost anyone interested in pursuing it. John Wooden was famous for simplifying the game of Basketball and the concept of leadership. This is where the “6 Principles of Great Coaching” come into play. Otherwise known as P.E.O.P.L.E., the 6 Principles of Great Coaching are aimed to not only improve a player’s success, but also what great coaching does for them as a person, hence the acronym. BSUK has taken notice throughout the week that these 6 principles are indeed the foundation on which Coaching Weeks rests and want to emphasize their importance as much as possible.

The first Principle of Great Coaching is Person-Centered. This notion of coaching with more focus on the individual rather than game has been proven to be one of the most effective and impactful coaching philosophies for players. Often if the player feels the game is being “over-coached” or complicated beyond comprehension, it acts as more of a hindrance than a benefit. Focus on motivating and empathizing with players can lead to great success. As Vince Lombardi once said, “coaches who can outline plays on a blackboard are a dime a dozen. The ones who win get inside their player and motivate.”

The next principle is equally as important and ties directly into the “Person Centered” focus. Empowerment. The ability to empower an individual transcends sports barriers because it has almost nothing to do with tactics or the game itself. Similar the “Person Centered” principle, empowering deals mainly with the individual rather than the player. From a philosophical standpoint, empowerment relates to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Simply put, if an individual has all of his/her needs met and are firing on all cylinders, they will perform better on and off the field. This starts with empowering and individual and giving them the confidence that they can carry out any responsibility or challenge they encounter.

Organisation is an often overlooked skill of great coaching, but deserves equal credit. Organisation has a direct correlation with efficiency and goal achievement. Any coach will tell you, efficiency is vital for success. Organisational skills aren’t bound to efficiency just on the field, but off the field as well. Take time management for example. Learning from a coach how to manage one’s time and energy is crucial for becoming the best possible version of oneself. A coach who knows how to effectively and efficiently teach time management will have an impact on their players that lasts a life time. Ultimately, time being coached equals time well spent.

One could argue establishing and maintaining a Positive attitude is the most useful attribute a person can have in life. Positivity is contagious and vital for success in life and sport, allowing players to thrive in an environment they enjoy being in. Positivity ties into the empowerment principle as they both allow a coach to motivate, inspire, and create a sense of belonging.

What good do these principles do for a person if they aren’t able to be retained? That’s where Learning comes into play. It is imperative for a great coach to be able to present information in a way that players to not only understand, but want to understand. Learning, in relation to great coaching, means a coach understands his players as well and something new is being learned each time. As a tandem, player and coach need to feel confident they are progressing and achieving mutual objectives.

The last Principle of Great Coaching is Engagement. Engagement, in relation to sport, is all about involvement and how a coach can adapt to each players’ needs. Roger Bannister was once quoted as saying, “Sport is not about being wrapped up in cotton wool.  Sport as about adapting to the unexpected and being able to modify plans at the last minute.  Sport, similar to life, is about taking risks.” This perfectly sums up this notion that great coaching isn’t an exact science, but rather an always-shifting approach to get players engaged.

Over the course of Coaching Week, P.E.O.P.L.E. has proven a perfect way to express great coaching experiences. Allowing those who have been impacted by their coach to show their gratitude sanctions growth for all parties involved. Thus far, Coaching Week has shown to do just that. BSUK is a proud proponent of Coaching Week and are delighted to further our support of great coaching across the nation.

tagged under: coaching, events

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