Coaching as Teaching: Instructional Strategies for Player Development

An LASF (2006-2008) Research Study

This pilot study examines the hypothesis that learning sound instructional methods will allow coaches to promote not only the physical development and skill enhancement of their players, but also players? social and ethical development.  In addition to assessing player development and performance, the study examines some relationships among coaches?development and coaches? players? and parents?sideline behavior during competitive game situations.

Central to this study is the idea that youth coaches typically do not possess sufficient knowledge of basketball fundamentals and strategy nor, importantly, effective teaching and organizational methods that are necessary for effective player instruction.  In addition, as classroom teachers tend to teach the way they were taught, so, too, do coaches, tend to replicate the ways they were coached. Finally, and most significantly, coaches are not only teachers of skills and strategies, but also of ethical attitudes.  They are engaged in attempting to help their players learn not only the behaviors of the game, but also the moral and social values that make up good sportsmanship.  However, they typically do not identify themselves as teachers.  To be truly effective, coaches need to recognize their roles as teachers of knowledge and skills in both the physical and social domains.

To examine these assertions, this pilot study will provide six, four-hour coaching workshops to five coaches (four central and one alternate). The workshops will follow a curriculum designed to teach coaches how to meet their athletic and social derived from research and practice in university-sponsored teacher education (e.g., Antioch University:

Following the workshops, an eight-team league composed of athletes ages 10 to 14, set up by the LASF, will begin an eight-week season of weekly practices and games in which four of the teams will be coached by those who have completed the workshop curriculum and four will be coached by coaches who did not.

All participating coaches will be pre-tested on social and ethical development measures already shown to be reliable and valid prior to their involvement.  Players will also be pre-tested on social, ethical, and physical skills measures before their participation begins.

During the season, all games and practice sessions will be observed and/or videotaped.  In addition, progress monitoring will be conducted by participant observers during practices and games. During games, attention will also be given to parents? players, and coaches?behavior in relation to referee calls, etc. (i.e., sideline behavior).  Weekly videotapes will be viewed and coded in an array of categories including traditional skill performance and social behavior in context.  Coding reliability will be pre-established.

At the end of the season, coaches and players will be post-tested on the same measures as those used in the pretest. Data analysis and final report will be completed by early 2008.

For information, contact Steve Venables at

Steve at LASportsFoundation dot org.
(You must type this as an email address with the"@" symbol and ".org")

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