Sports Coaching
Emphasis on effort and comic improvisation

Today’s lecture was on expert pedagogues with many examples of great athletes turned coach. It wasn’t these examples that I took away from the lecture, however. Instead, I was interested in the examples that Keith gave on improvisation and his responses to difficult questions from athletes such as the one with the boy who scored extremely low on his fitness test.

I, myself, have been in many situations like that where you want to emphasise the effort that they have put into the activity and reassure them that consistent efforts like this will enivitably show results. The athlete, on the other hand, is much more interested in the score or results they achieved from this one attempt. In Keith’s story it had a happy ending with the student using this as motivation for joining a fitness club. He was one of the extraordinary ones that saw past the initial disheartening feeling and looked to make a change. Whether it was how Keith worded his response when the student asked for his score or whether it was something else I’m not sure. Either way, I will definitely try to word it carefully when the next experience like that arises.

The other point I really liked today was that of the comedian Billy Connelly and his improvisation skills. I would say that the skill I have had to improve and build most, as a personal trainer, was my improvisation skills. It was very difficult at first and I can still remember my first experience of trying to ‘Wing’ the whole session. It didn’t turn out well for myself or my client. But now I see that improvisation at its best is still having a solid plan in the background, something to trace back to at all times, but, also, still having the confidence to stray from this plan and be adaptive and flexible.

Research in practice

As of today, my slideshare presentation is up for viewing! The topic I chose was “The coach as an extrinsic motivator and supporter of intrinsic development”.

I have always been interested in motivation. My work, as a personal trainer, relies on the correct use of it to keep my income growing. Although this isn’t the only reason my interest was sparked. It was the happiness, growth and development of my clients that inspired me to choose this topic.

Through my research I learnt a lot about motivation and I feel that I also learnt a lot about why people do their activities, succeed in their activities or, unfortunately, are unsuccessful with their activities.

What I was happy with most about my research was that it actually helped me develop the way I motivate my clients! The techniques, rules and methods I discussed actually had a positive effect on all of my clients in one way or another. Also, I feel now that I understand what motivates people better I am able to talk through roadblocks with my clients a lot more constructively and get them back on the right track!

It’s amazing how much information is out there and what taking the time to study it can do for your coaching style.

Observation and Augmented practice

Today’s lecture was very information heavy. Keith presented the findings of several journals related to teaching and coaching. The first article he showed us seemed to be focused on teachers as expert pedagogues with it saying that teachers require both a high level of subject matter knowledge as well as knowledge of organisation and management of classrooms. Because teachers have to draw on both domains of knowledge the article states that ‘to be an expert public school teacher is, we think, much harder than being an expert physics problem solver’.

After a brief look at the spectrum of teaching styles, we then looked at another study which was focused on teaching coaches how to remember. This I can see being a very important skill because, as mentioned by Keith, every second we are observing our athletes we need to be looking at areas where we can offer some feedback and chance for improvement. With technology being so readily available these days it would be just as effective to use video capturing to best give feedback but the goal, at the end of the day, for an expert coach should be the ability to remember all parts without having to rely on technology. It’s hard to be a good coach with a video camera constantly slung over your shoulder.

Also the next article seems to prove my last point with the title “Frequent augmented feedback can degrade learning”. If an athlete is constantly being given feedback and constantly changing their style to try and match a ‘perfect’ one, they will never, ever FEEL what their perfect style is. It seems feedback is very important for learning but in the right doses.

There were other articles we discussed that touched on augmented feedback and whether or not the article suggesting it works best in moderation was in-fact true but that isn’t what I would like to finish this week’s post on. I want to share with you the story Keith shared about first-year medical students at Yale. All of the students are required to take the innovative class at the Yale centre of British arts. I really liked how the course curator thought outside the box when designing the course for his students. I believe that this style of teaching will produce more well-rounded professionals in terms of creativity and judgement which are both, especially in medicine, very important.


Today in the lecture I particularly liked how Keith went through the SportsCachingPedagogy wiki page and talked about the use and continuing incorporation of social media and online resources in all areas of life. Most importantly they are fully editable by all viewers of the resource!

This could be used for more back-and-forth information sharing between teacher and student, manager and employee and even coach and athlete! I must remember to utilize these new technologies as they are, not only, readily available and highly useable but also completely portable due to wireless technologies.

Triple jump, sports balls and game improvising

Today’s tutorial in the sports hall was, not only, a good meet’n’greet for myself but a good class for making me think about how I would introduce teaching a skill to a group. We were told to carry out the 3 seperate actions that make up triple jump and then after we had been observed by Keith trying to carry out the actions he recognised the main area of weakness for most of us in the class (the ‘step’). From here he broke it down further, telling us to make all the actions the same length. After observing us he then went even further and we found ourselves performing John Cleece’s famous silly walk to incorporate proper timing and arm swing into our triple jump.

You can always break it down even further to really exaggerate the area that needs improvement.

Coaches as performers!

Some of the ideas presented to me by Keith were really interesting. I enjoyed watching top coaches and the persona they would assume during important moments with their players. Some would say they took an overly aggressive one such as with the world class russian volleyball coach, but I happen to think that this style matches perfectly with the arousal level the players would have been feeling at that stressful point in the match. In this instance, the players responded well to it and ended up taking the gold. It’s all about reading your athletes.

First Post

This is a practice blog for Sports Coaching Pedagogy. I will be using this for self evaluation and my presentation with this unit.