The Reflective Coach

Undertaking an evaluation on someone or something, I feel, can be found quite easy and very critical, however  reflecting on my own self performance and coaching method is always an area which I have found very difficult. It is very hard to criticize ones own performance and I feel this coaching reflection blog will allow me to dig deep into my coaching style and method and pull out areas which I need to work on regarding my coaching delivery and also to allow me to develop and build on my current strengths. Reflection is huge in everyday life, however reflecting as an individual about their behavior and transferring their views into a practical situation in sport is vitally important in the coaching industry to progress and become a better coach.

Reflection is ‘a key form of problem solving thinking to resolve an issue which involved active chaining a careful ordering of ideas’ (Hatton and Smith, 1995). I believe this is a correct definition of reflection, as reflection involves solving issues which have occurred, analyzing the problems and producing adequate ways in which these can be resolved the next time the situation arises.

Reflection is a key factor in being able to learn and progress which is hugely important. The book Reflection: Turning Experience into Learning quotes ‘Reflection is a vital element in any form of learning’ (Boud, Keogh and Walker, 1985). Reflection is vitally important as this is the key element in allowing one to learn and progress, which is in support of this piece of evidence. By doing this, they can become better athletes and will have improved from one game/competition to the next. For example a football player will need to reflect on their game in order for them to learn and progress in the next game. They will have to reflect on what areas they have done well and reflect on the areas in which they need to improve on in order to progress and become a better player. This all happens through reflection and reflection on ones performance.

I feel this module is going to help me as a coach learn about my coaching style and the way in which I coach. I have never undertaken reflection before never mind on myself, so I feel this is going to be a huge eye opener to see what I am actually like as a coach. I will be able to see for myself what areas need working on and using my reflective techniques to transfer this onto the coaching field. I feel my biggest area for improvement that I need to work and focus my reflection around is when I am coaching I find myself choosing 2 or 3 participants and coaching them, whereas I should be focusing on the whole group and trying my hardest to develop every individual in the group not just a certain few.

I am massively looking forward to my journey as whole on this module and I am excited as to understanding myself on how I coach and areas which need more work on to allowing me to develop and become a better all round sports coach.

On the 8th October 2015 we as a class took part in a practical workshop which allowed us to think about and reflect on 5 topic areas. These were Invasion Skills, Court Skills, Target Skills, Agility, Balance and Coordination and Racket, Stick and Implement Skills. This workshop allowed me as an individual to think about what the skills actually were, what components were involved with that type of skill and how we would plan a session which was fun, enjoyable but worked on these topic areas. I feel that the main skill out of the 5 which should have more focus on is the fundamentals of sport, Agility, Balance and Coordination. Allowing a performer to understand these 3 concepts lays the important foundations for them to go on and progress and adapt on these skills. As the task was to think about what skill we had been given and then come up with a session which focused and worked on all of the concepts within that skill, I found that our approach was too normal and we only focused on one sport, which was football as this is what we have been brought up with. What we should have done is pulled it right back and started from the beginning, what we had done when we were younger, thought about an activity rather than a sport which allowed these underlying concepts to be worked on. Once we did try and start thinking deeper into what basic activities we could use to tick these concepts, we could see that it was matching what we had intended. We did this by getting the concept of that skill and trying to see if it was visible in the activity. One example was the Agility, Balance and Coordination skill. We first started the activity we had thought of off by having a ball either at our feet or in our hands and walking round the square. 5 minutes into this and we had brought it back together with some deep discussions as to what actually is Agility, Balance and Coordination. Having these basic fundamental skills are very important as they allow ‘our ability to move safely, to perform the activities of daily living effectively and to enjoy recreational activities'(Agility, Balance and Coordination Training @ 50+, 2012). Without these basic skills we wouldn’t be able to go about our daily lives.

Once we had determined the meaning of these skills, we then thought what activities had their main focus around these skills. Once we had mastered this we then brought it all together to make a session where it was fun, however focused on all these 3 skills in one session. By doing this, it was more clearer to see as a coach and also a participant what was being worked on and how it was being worked on. This was a more understanding and clear approach rather than doing what we did at the start where it was all very messy and there was no clear pathway as to how we were going to work on these skills.

By doing this workshop, making mistakes and learning from them, stripping it down into small chunks and allowing us to see what ways we could do it different to allow the session to be more focused, means i can take this into my coaching sessions which will allow the participants to understand why they are undertaking that activity rather then doing it because the coach (I) have told them too.

Reference List:

Boud, D., Keogh, R. and Walker, D. (eds.) (1985) Reflection: Turning Experience into Learning. London: Routledge Farmer.

Hatton, N. and Smith, D. (1995) ‘Reflection in teacher education: Towards definition and implementation’, Teaching and Teacher Education, 11(1), pp. 33–49.

Agility, Balance and Coordination Training @ 50+ (2012) Available at: http://forever-active.com/agility-balance-and-coordination-training-50/ (Accessed: 14 October 2015).

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