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Iconic Coaching Styles - Where do you fit in?

Posted by Ariella Ford | Jan 11, 2017 4:57:00 PM

Iconic Coaching Styles - Which sounds like you?

A great coach is adaptable, changing his or her coaching strategies and techniques based on the group of athletes and the situation. These are some of the most common sports coaching styles and how we’ve seen them used by iconic coaches.


The Democratic Style

Coaches who work with athletes in a democratic style often prefer to avoid leading with an iron fist. You likely provide athletes with knowledge of the game necessary to make informed decisions, so that when it’s game day you can facilitate decision making, but ultimately encourage your players to make the call. Lady Vols basketball Coach Pat Summitt, frequently demonstrated a more democratic coaching style, while she still demanded a lot from her players, she also emphasized the importance of being receptive to players input. Coaches with this styler are two-way communicators who provide the basic structure and game-plan, but ultimately leave it up to your athletes to take the lead. As Summit once told her team, “I can’t score for you, or get a rebound for you, I can only give you the information to be successful.”

A democratic coach focuses on the process as much as the outcome. Along with that comes greater patience and flexibility, as you and your players learn and adjust. Still, when it comes down to it, the coach is the commander and chief, and players respect their authority.

The Authoritarian Style

NY Giants coach Tom Coughlin was known for his authoritarian coaching style. An ESPN article described one of Coughlin’s conditional programs as something that “would've made Bear Bryant weak at the knees.” If you share his authoritarian style, you likely make the calls for your team, and your players know it, and don’t question it. Through being on your team, players learn discipline, work ethic and respect. You are clear and organized in your communication and what you say, goes. You likely coach with an outcome based approach, focusing on how players, and the team as a whole can win each and every game.

All Star Focused

Coaches who focus on their all-star player have a knack for recognizing great talent and how to utilize it. If this is your style it is likely that you make an example of your star athlete as a leader for the rest of the team. You focus on building players as individuals first, then molding them into a winning team. Like Kentucky Basketball Coach John Calipari, you are a great recruiter, bringing in top talent. These coaches bring in stars with polished technique and skill, and then work to coach individuals on how to play as a championship team.

Character & Team Driven

These coaches believe skill, strength and technique will only take an athlete, and a team, so far. Like Seattle Seahawks Coach, Pete Carroll, you emphasize the attitude and character of a player, and how those components affect the team as a whole. You are a “player’s coach” and believe strongly in nurturing players as individuals, while still sticking to a program and acting as a unified team.

You know the right attitude can make or break a player, making it crucial to stress the importance of a winning attitude, but also the importance of enjoying the game.
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Topics: Coaching & Training Tips, Latest in Sports News, Youth Athletics

Written by Ariella Ford

Ariella is the Marketing Director at Upper Hand, a sports software company aiming to simplify front and back-end office tasks, by providing cutting-edge marketing and registration tools, and business intelligence, that enable unsurpassed performance for sports businesses across the nation.