Analysing The Coach

Analysing The Coach

I haven’t written anything for the site in a couple of weeks. I have been busy working on an assignment and the site slipped down my priority list.  The assignment I have been working on is called the ‘Coaching Process’ and involves analysing the coaching style of a particular coach.

While I’m not going to reproduce the assignment here I thought it would be a good idea to share some of the principles involved.

The Coach

Firstly I have to keep the coach’s identity confidential but I can tell you he is an extremely successful coach winning some of the top honours the club game has to offer in Europe. He is currently coaching a semi-professional team in the All Ireland League. The team are very young (mostly under 25 years of age) and many of the players would be on development international squads.

The Training Sessions

I videoed the coach on two separate occasions about 2 weeks apart. I used a Canon XM2 camera and had the luxury of a set of Sennheiser  Microphones. The weather conditions on the first day were horrible and the sound quality was slightly affected but the second training session worked perfectly. I videoed both sessions and then tagged the footage after training. I also conducted a quick interview with the coach to get an idea of his coaching background and general philosophies on coaching, this gives you a better idea of why the coach does certain things more or less than others.

The Criteria

From all the research I did it seems universally accepted that when observing a coach you should use the Arizona State University Observation Instrument (ASUOI) developed by Lacy & Darst (1989). There are 14 behaviours and their descriptions.

Coach BehaviourDefinition
Use of first name*Use of first name or nickname when directly speaking to a player
Pre-instructionInitial information given to player(s) preceding execution of the desired action
Concurrent instructionCues or reminders given during the execution of the skill or play
Post-instructionInstructional feedback given after the execution of the skill or play
QuestioningAny question to the player(s) concerning technique or strategies
Physical assistancePhysically moving the player’s body through the correct RoM or body position
Positive modellingDemonstration of correct performance
Negative modellingDemonstration of incorrect performance
HustleVerbal statements with intent to increase player(s) effort
PraiseVerbal or non-verbal compliments, statements or acceptance
ScoldVerbal or non-verbal signs of displeasure
ManagementVerbal statements related to organization of practice sessions
SilencePeriod of time where the coach is not talking
Uncodable behaviourAny behaviour that does not fit into other categories or distinguished

The Results

As you can see the results are published below. I am absolutely sure there is no one best way to coach, every coach will have different philosophies and methods. You could make a positive and negative case as to why every behaviour should be higher or lower. What I think is most important is probably as a coach looking at the video to see if there are tendencies you would like to change or are there issues with your training sessions. Rather than looking exclusively at the numbers it would be good to look at trends over the course of a season.

Coach BehaviourFrequency%Time (H:M:S)%
Use of first name*81.48%00:00:07
Concurrent instruction356.55%00:03:203.85%
Physical assistance10.19%00:00:100.19%
Positive modelling71.31%00:00:430.82%
Negative modelling20.37%00:00:120.23%
Uncodable behaviour101.87%00:03:584.58%

What was immediately noticeable from the results above was the amount of time the coach spent in silence during the coaching sessions, over 50% of the time. As I said there is no right or wrong answer here but when I interviewed the coach I got a clearer picture of his intentions. He explained that the level of players he was dealing with (elite), the type of the training session (game situations) and the time of year (competitive) lead him to remove himself slightly from the training sessions and see how the players would react. Basically the coach was replicating game situations where the players would have to take ownership for themselves.

Obviously this method would probably change depending on the time of year or the type of coaching session being conducted, but as a coach are you aware of how often you do something? Similar to a match it is impossible to know exactly what you said or did during training and having the video to go back over everything is beneficial.

Final Thoughts

Overall I think this is a good process and something I have done before (videoing myself presenting and then watching back). It can be a bit uncomfortable to look at yourself but after a few minutes you get used to it and you can immediately see areas of improvement. As a coach why not get a parent or injured player to video the coaching session, you dont have to tell them the reason or share the video with anybody but you might just learn a thing or two about your coaching style and some areas to improve on. And don’t worry too much about having a microphone on you, once the camera isn’t too far away you will pick up your voice and gestures etc…


This is a video I saw on the English FA website. It is a coach from the Cardiff Academy being analysed. I have only taken a small sample of the clip as it’s not freely available but if your interested in seeing more check out the FA Learning site.

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