Coaching Matters: Around the web December 2014


Welcome to the December 2014 edition of Coaching Matters, a round up of the articles I have found interesting in the month relating to coaching, sport science, physical preparation and skill acquisition.

Doping hit the headlines thanks to a German documentary on Russian Athletics and Paul Kimmage asking some hard questions of rugby. There was a big reaction to both stories.

An interesting aspect of Paul Kimmage and Laurent Bezenech’s suspicions is what they call “medicalisation”. This addresses the areas of sports medicine which do not necessarily overtly enhance performance but may have a big impact on athlete’s health such as regular (ab)use of painkilling injections, anti-inflammatories and so on. This has been sidelined to some extent by the more dramatic (and in my mind far less prevalent) issue of Performance Enhancing Drugs. A great article on this by the Secret Physio sums up my thoughts very neatly.

One other subject I would like to address this month is the increasing frequency of athletes (particularly kids) being labelled “Uncoachable”. Variations on this message below are becoming increasingly common:


Click to enlarge

In my mind there’s no such thing as an uncoachable kid or adult for that matter. There are however plenty of self centred coaches with unengaging and poorly designed practices. Misbehaviour is a sign that you as a Coach have got something wrong. Nothing wrong with that as we all make mistakes but its only an error if you don’t learn from it. Shouting, punishing or otherwise being “tough” on kids is a sure fire way to turn them off even further. Instead take a look at your sessions, preferably with another Coach or Mentor and re-evaluate your approach. Why are the kids misbehaving? How can you increase activity and engagement such that they have no opportunity to play up? Make sure your athletes are as active as possible and challenge them with puzzles to solve – misbehaviour will soon fade away.

I try to reply to each one with that message and the image at the top of this post but not one of these “Tough Guy” Coaches has ever responded. I think they are just parroting what they think is a catchy message.

This attitude is the epitome of Coach centred behaviour (beware anyone who uses “Coach” as a title and insists on being referred to as such). If you are unaware of this I’d definitely suggest having a look at Lynn Kidman’s work on the subject – Athlete-Centred Coaching: Developing Decision Makers.

The whole point of this blog is sharing and interaction so if you have written or know of similar content that would be good for future posts then please let me know via or on Twitter @SiNainby.

Slight twist this month as the Top 10 is the most clicked links from 2014. As usual though the rest are divided by General Coaching, Skill Acquisition, Physical Preparation & Sport Science. Check out all the previous Coaching Matters blogs here.

Top 10 Most Clicked Links in 2014

  1. Changing ecological constraints of practice alters coordination of dynamic interceptive
    actions by Renshaw, Oldham, Davids & Golds
  2. 35 Secrets of Brilliant Coaches
  3. PropelPerform: Recommended Reading: Non-Coaching Books
  4. Training for the 400m with Richard Buck
  5. Strength and Conditioning – ACSS 2013 Keynote Address – Robert Newton
  6. How New Zealand assistant coach Gilbert Enoka turned All Blacks around with a strict no-d***heads policy
  7. Q&A with Barry & Steve Fudge
  8. Practice Design – Progression & Challenge
  9. The Finland Phenomenon
  10. Faster. Higher. Stronger… Seriously? By Stuart McMillan

General Coaching

Skill Acquisition

Physical Preparation

Sport Science

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