There are generally three different types of coaching styles available in sports including holistic, democratic, and autocratic. Each of these coaching styles has drawbacks and benefits and it’s vital to understand each and every one of them. For every coach, a personal coaching style needs to be established which will require a decent grasp on their natural tendencies and it usually involves elements that work in conjunction with each of the three coaching styles mentioned above.
The best way to explain this style of coaching is with a phrase: “My way or the highway.” Coaches that utilize an autocratic coaching style will make decisions with limited or no input from players. The coach essentially articulates his vision for what is required from his players and expects his players to perform accordingly. This is basically a win-focused coaching style and usually features inflexible structures when it comes to training. Autocratic coaching is best suited for team sports as opposed to individual sports.
This coaching style sounds exactly like the name implies. Coaches that use democratic coaching will facilitate the decision-making process and goal-setting requirements with loads of input from their players as opposed to dictating them. This is essentially an athlete-centred style of coaching where the athletes have the ability to shape their very own objectives within a framework that has been outlined by the coach. Coaches that utilize the democratic coaching style provide plenty of autonomy to teams and players who collaborate in their own direction and development. This is a coaching style that is best suited for individual sports, such as track and field and tennis events.
Also referred to as “laissez-faire” coaching, this unique style of coaching is based on the popular theory that a happy player or team will naturally become a successful player or team. You will notice that very little will be offered when it comes to positive feedback and structured training. Instead, the coach that utilizes the holistic coaching style works to develop an environment where players can pursue their skills development and feel more comfortable in their own way and in their own time. The coach will not have central authority, allowing the team or player to set their own unique agendas. This style of coaching is best used for mature players who already managed to develop self-awareness and creativity to guide themselves.
Which Style is Right for You?
Simply deciding on one of the above-mentioned styles isn’t an option for most coaches. There’s only a handful of leaders that solely fall into one coaching style as philosophy and personal experience shape coaching approaches as well. Coaching skills are essentially the same skills that are used in military, academic, and professional settings which can be arranged around a couple of key principles. Basically, a team or player should improve on their skills at the end of the season and a coach needs to know the difference between results and effort.