Coaching techniques and their effects on athletes

Sara was a collegiate swimmer. She swam at the University of Hawaii for her first two years of college and then at Stanford for her junior and senior years. She said that her time at the University of Hawaii was great and she had coaches there that she still, to this day, looks up to. Rowland Hall alum and former swim coach Sara Watchorn states that, in Hawaii, "We didn't train more than 20 hours a week between dryland and swimming." Her coach was so in tune with his athletes that during the off-season he even "told [her] to go surfing because he could tell [she] wasn't in a good head space." When I asked her about his coaching, Sara said, "Sam Freas was uncommon and, in my opinion, an excellent coach."

 

 

However, at Stanford, she had a completely different experience, from being injured to physically and mentally breaking down. For example, Sara explained that after weeks of hard training, she felt like she had finally “broke” and couldn’t perform well even after a lot of rest. This is only a small part of Sara’s story, but even after hearing about just this part, I wanted to ensure that other people knew how to coach their athletes correctly, especially if those athletes were injured. How should coaches even know when to be strict and push the athlete or lenient and sympathize with the athlete? What coaching methods are the most effective and work with the athlete to help them improve? These lasting questions pushed me to determine what techniques are most useful and when coaches should use them for the most effective results.

 

 

The first and probably most popular method of coaching is being strict. Even though this mindset is useful in many training areas (for example to help athletes improve in a short amount of time), it can cause athletes to overtrain their bodies and be left with many long-lasting injuries. Sara Watchorn describes her experience at Stanford, where her coaches overtrained her and caused her to lose progress: “I remember the day I ‘broke’ and wouldn't be able to perform well even if I slept for two weeks.” The weirdest thing is that even if Sara was not in a good state, her coaches still beat her to the core every day, “We did 2.5 hours of swimming that included a test set of 10 x 100s at the fastest pace you could hold with about 15 seconds rest and concluded with a 100 all out, then another, then another…We got to drag wheels tied to our feet up and down the field while another group did med-ball core exercises. Then we did 1.5 hours of weights.” This shows how the authoritarian style of training may work for a short period but will only bring you back down because even though Sara’s first few weeks of Harvard swimming allowed for her to greatly improve, in a short amount of time she lost all of that progress and more because of the amount of exercise she had to do every day.  Trine University lists this “authoritarian” method as the least effective after researching all the different methods of training athletes. Their research points out how bad using the “authoritarian” method is: “This style will make a coach seem controlling and strict. This has proven to have a negative psychological impact on athletes. The athletes who experience coaches who behave in an authoritarian way cannot create the trust and positive relationships that are critical for team success.” This method of coaching gets rid of any possibilities of the athletes and their coach(es) connecting. Even though this is the most popular technique for training athletes, it is proven to be the least effective overall.

 

 

The next method is not used as much as the authoritarian method but is proven to have better outcomes. After researching what method many coaches think is the most effective, both Trine University and the National Institutes of Health believe that the autonomy training technique is the most effective in its mental and physical attributes. This method is a way of communicating with the athlete and providing choices of exercise that the athlete is comfortable with. Being able to know when to sympathize or when to be stern and push your athlete to improve is essential when becoming a coach. The National Institutes of Health states that the autonomy method of training consists of “(a) providing choice for athletes, (b) providing a rationale for tasks and limits, (c) providing non-controlling competence feedback, (d) avoiding controlling behaviors such as criticisms, controlling statements.” There are many more guidelines that I didn’t quote which you can access with this link. This type of coaching allows for the athlete and coach to have a positive relationship while also giving the athlete the ability to improve. The autonomy method is the better method of the two that I have talked about and will bring better outcomes than the authoritarian method.

 

 

If coaches use this more effective and efficient method, then the athlete will have a better chance of improving their ability in the sport. The authoritarian method is generally inefficient and causes unhealthy relationships between the athlete and their coach(es). The autonomy method allows for the athlete to have a healthy relationship with their coach, which will boost this method’s effectiveness greatly. I know personally that not many coaches use the autonomy method; however, if those coaches can change their method of training, they will most likely come out with a better outcome for their athletes. 
 

Coaching techniques and their effects on athletes
Kunga Kabsang

Sara was a collegiate swimmer. She swam at the University of Hawaii for her first two years of college and then at Stanford for her junior and senior years. She said that her time at the University of Hawaii was great and she had coaches there that she still, to this day, looks up to. Rowland Hall alum and former swim coach Sara Watchorn states that, in Hawaii, "We didn't train more than 20 hours a week between dryland and swimming." Her coach was so in tune with his athletes that during the off-season he even "told [her] to go surfing because he could tell [she] wasn't in a good head space." When I asked her about his coaching, Sara said, "Sam Freas was uncommon and, in my opinion, an excellent coach."

 

 

However, at Stanford, she had a completely different experience, from being injured to physically and mentally breaking down. For example, Sara explained that after weeks of hard training, she felt like she had finally “broke” and couldn’t perform well even after a lot of rest. This is only a small part of Sara’s story, but even after hearing about just this part, I wanted to ensure that other people knew how to coach their athletes correctly, especially if those athletes were injured. How should coaches even know when to be strict and push the athlete or lenient and sympathize with the athlete? What coaching methods are the most effective and work with the athlete to help them improve? These lasting questions pushed me to determine what techniques are most useful and when coaches should use them for the most effective results.

 

 

The first and probably most popular method of coaching is being strict. Even though this mindset is useful in many training areas (for example to help athletes improve in a short amount of time), it can cause athletes to overtrain their bodies and be left with many long-lasting injuries. Sara Watchorn describes her experience at Stanford, where her coaches overtrained her and caused her to lose progress: “I remember the day I ‘broke’ and wouldn't be able to perform well even if I slept for two weeks.” The weirdest thing is that even if Sara was not in a good state, her coaches still beat her to the core every day, “We did 2.5 hours of swimming that included a test set of 10 x 100s at the fastest pace you could hold with about 15 seconds rest and concluded with a 100 all out, then another, then another…We got to drag wheels tied to our feet up and down the field while another group did med-ball core exercises. Then we did 1.5 hours of weights.” This shows how the authoritarian style of training may work for a short period but will only bring you back down because even though Sara’s first few weeks of Harvard swimming allowed for her to greatly improve, in a short amount of time she lost all of that progress and more because of the amount of exercise she had to do every day.  Trine University lists this “authoritarian” method as the least effective after researching all the different methods of training athletes. Their research points out how bad using the “authoritarian” method is: “This style will make a coach seem controlling and strict. This has proven to have a negative psychological impact on athletes. The athletes who experience coaches who behave in an authoritarian way cannot create the trust and positive relationships that are critical for team success.” This method of coaching gets rid of any possibilities of the athletes and their coach(es) connecting. Even though this is the most popular technique for training athletes, it is proven to be the least effective overall.

 

 

The next method is not used as much as the authoritarian method but is proven to have better outcomes. After researching what method many coaches think is the most effective, both Trine University and the National Institutes of Health believe that the autonomy training technique is the most effective in its mental and physical attributes. This method is a way of communicating with the athlete and providing choices of exercise that the athlete is comfortable with. Being able to know when to sympathize or when to be stern and push your athlete to improve is essential when becoming a coach. The National Institutes of Health states that the autonomy method of training consists of “(a) providing choice for athletes, (b) providing a rationale for tasks and limits, (c) providing non-controlling competence feedback, (d) avoiding controlling behaviors such as criticisms, controlling statements.” There are many more guidelines that I didn’t quote which you can access with this link. This type of coaching allows for the athlete and coach to have a positive relationship while also giving the athlete the ability to improve. The autonomy method is the better method of the two that I have talked about and will bring better outcomes than the authoritarian method.

 

 

If coaches use this more effective and efficient method, then the athlete will have a better chance of improving their ability in the sport. The authoritarian method is generally inefficient and causes unhealthy relationships between the athlete and their coach(es). The autonomy method allows for the athlete to have a healthy relationship with their coach, which will boost this method’s effectiveness greatly. I know personally that not many coaches use the autonomy method; however, if those coaches can change their method of training, they will most likely come out with a better outcome for their athletes. 
 

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