Sports Coaching Philosophy and Practice Factors

When formulating a coaching philosophy, there are three main items that need to be considered. These are self-awareness, self-esteem, and self-disclosure. This essay seeks to explain how the three factors can be applied in coaching practice. To this end, the importance of flexibility and the influence of external factors shall be considered in providing a well-balanced argument. Personal examples shall be illustrated to help push the point further home.

Self-awareness is generally the notion of knowing who you are. In order for a person to increase his knowledge of him, it is important that they take time to reflect on their own beliefs as well as their assumptions and also focus on obtaining the opinion of other individuals on the same. The distinction between the ideal self, the public self, and the real self is paramount in enhancing self-awareness. The concept of self-awareness is very important in a coach’s philosophy.

This is primarily because for one to establish a set of ideas to guide his practice and regard them as his philosophy, he must be in a position to invoke the knowledge of his personal strengths and weaknesses. This can only be achieved if a person understands how his own beliefs and values will influence the decisions that he makes and how his ideas will be received by other people. The coach must be in a position to know that the kind of approach he takes in his role is different when he is in his own element is different from the decisions he makes when he is in public (Kidman and Hanrahan, 2004). An individual will tend to make certain decisions just to fulfill satisfy demands; decisions he would not agree with if he had to go with his own instinct.

The same aspect of self-awareness applies on the side of the athletes who have to consciously understand their individualities to make decisions that will impact their performance positively. The personal beliefs and assumptions of the athletes in the shadow of the feedback they get from their peers or other members of the public will determine how they conduct themselves in achieving their personal goals.

Self-esteem is a personal view of an individual’s abilities and competency when it comes to fulfilling certain roles. Individuals who believe they have what it takes to attain certain goals are confident and they commit themselves as required to attaining goals that they have set to achieve. In coaching practice, the coach needs to believe in his own philosophies and put them into practice confidently in order to secure the trust of the trainees.

A coach with much-supposed self-esteem will have a hard time trying to convince the athletes and the general public that his theories could be successfully put into practice. Coaches also need to ensure that the athletes are well aware of their own physical and mental abilities in order to inculcate confidence in their own personas. The coach is charged with the role of ensuring that the athletes he is in charge of responding positively to challenges that come their way and fully apply themselves in dealing with the said difficulties.

The coach also needs to ensure that the athletes take their losses gracefully and not let bad days dampen their spirits. Athletes need to adopt the attitude that losing is not necessarily a consequence of their weakened abilities. They should be encouraged to still walk tall in the midst of defeat and receive poor performance as a valuable pointer of where improvement is needed.

Self-disclosure is the element of individuals letting other people awabe re of their personal views and opinions. This is something that usually manifests in the way individuals foster relationships with each other and in the various discussions that take place among groups of persons who share common goals and interests. The coach’s words and actions in regards to the building of confidence and trust amongst members of the same team are crucial in determining what needs to be done in order to have proper and meaningful connections. The coach is supposed to be in control at all times and should use the various filtration mechanisms available to him in determining what he can or should disclose to the athletes and what technique to use in delivering the message in order to avoid conflicts (Cassidy, Jones and Potrac, 2009).

Flexibility is very significant in a coach’s philosophy mainly because sports is a very dynamic profession (Burton and Radeke, 2008). It is alwayschangings both in terms of the skills of the participants and the technique involved. The rules also change from time to time and it is required of all the individuals to change their technical approaches from sporadically in order to meet the challenges of competition.

The personal philosophies guiding the conduct of coaches should therefore be open to changes in order to be relevant to the modern-day application. External factors can definitely affect a coach’s ability to adhere to a pre-defined philosophy and it is under these circumstances that coaches are encouraged to entertain changes. For instance, the major philosophy in my personal coaching practice is the fact that playing time is earned and not given. On occasion, I have given the most promising players the opportunity to start for the team but they end up underperforming and as a coach standing on the sidelines, the first thing in my head is to take out such players irrespective of the fact that they could just have played a few minutes. In one particular instance, I was up on my feet shouting instructions to a certain athlete I was coaching and occasionally telling him just how much I was not impressed by his performance.

When we finally took a break there was a visible tension between the two of us and it was almost obvious that I was going to replace him. However, a certain member of the coaching team let me think things over and advised me to give the athlete a chance to come back. The second time around the performance of the athlete had tremendously improved. In this instance, my philosophy on giving the best performing athlete/player the opportunities to show up for the team had to be bent to allow the athlete to get back into action.

In conclusion, it is worth noting that a coaching philosophy is based on the various aspects of the self and it is imperative that both players and coaches develop an appreciation of their own individualities and use them in developing functional relationships with each other. The philosophies developed by coaches should also be constructed in such a way that they allow for modifications that may arise on occasion.


Burton, D. & Radeke, T.D. (2008). Sport psychology for coaches. Illinois: Human Kinetics.

Cassidy, T., Jones, R., & Potrac, P. (2009). Understanding sports coaching: The Social, cultural and pedagogical foundations of coaching practice (2nd ed.). NY: Routledge.

Kidman, L. & Hanrahan, S. (2004). The Coaching Process. Australia: Cengage Learning.