Do you consider yourself a coach-centered coach or a player-centered coach? It’s a question that must be answered only if you are concerned with how you teach and instruct athletes. To define a bit more, a coach-centered coach is someone that tells people what to do almost all the time. This is the coach that is the center of attention and one that an athlete must rely on when making decisions, running plays, or just being a person. The coach is explicit with instructions and may ask questions from time to time but for the most part – instructs. A player-centered coach is one that gives the athlete more autonomy and guides the environment with questions, so we think. What many coaches don’t realize is all coaches, no matter what they want to believe are coach-centered to a point and also player-centered to a point. How can this be? Well, some coaches may say, “I ask questions to my players so that they come up with the answers.” The bigger question is, as a coach, do you use follow-up questions to steer the player to another answer? If so, then you’re not a player-centered coach. Just because you use questions and believe you’re guiding them to an answer, which by the way is your answer anyway is not a player-centered coach. This is a coach-centered approach. If you have your players turn up at a time that is specific to your time and your needs, then you’re a coach-centered coach. Have you ever asked the players, “What time would you like to practice?” How about what days would you like to practice? If they answer something different then what you want are you ok with it? If so, then you may be more of a player-centered coach. The thing is both ways can be effective in influencing behavior and no one way is better than the other. A blended approach may be more effective especially with certain ages and gender, to some extent. Think of it as a sliding scale and one that you need to move and tailor to the population you work with daily.
If you find the information helpful or you are more confused please send me an e-mail and I can direct you to more evidence or information to help clarify my points.