Observations on Coaches/Coaching

Rowden Fullen (2007)

  • The awareness of bodily sensations is crucial to the development of skills. Unfortunately the majority of coaches persist in imposing their technique from the outside.
  • Blackmail or the use of sanctions are the last resorts of the coach who lacks the knowledge or the ability to convince the player.
  • The job of the coach is to teach the player to do without a coach.
  • Coaching is unlocking a player’s potential to allow him or her to maximise performance. It is helping players to learn for themselves rather than instructing them.
  • Most coaches talk too much – allow the player to have awareness and responsibility.
  • It should never happen, but far too often the exercise of power gets in the way of the development of the player.
  • Sport is a constantly evolving entity; unless the coach continues to evolve he cannot be effective.
  • The coach should try to identify a new way forward with players working from their own experience and perceptions rather than his own.
  • The coach must think of the player in terms of potential and not performance.
  • Coaches must bear in mind that their own beliefs concerning the capability of the player have a profound and direct influence on that player’s performance.
  • If you impose your experience on the player then his or her personal preferences, attributes and qualities are suppressed.
  • The coach is not an instructor, an adviser, a problem solver or even an expert. He is in fact a sounding board, a counsellor and an awareness raiser.
  • Often it is hard for experts to withhold their expertise sufficiently to coach well!
  • The obsession with our own thoughts, opinions and ideas and the compulsion to talk are often too strong, especially if coaches are placed in a position of control or power.
  • The coach must help the player to arrive at the level of unconscious competence.
  • To effect real change it is not the demands of the coach which are important, but for the player to access his/her own internal, high quality feedback.
  • The moulding of a champion in our sport of table tennis is far more than the mere passing on of ideas and techniques.
  • Thinking is the greatest enemy of perfection.
  • The coach acts as a catalyst allowing players to realise their own potential.
  • 95% of all sporting encounters are won in the mind.
  • Coaches must always be aware that strong guidance can in fact be detrimental to the full realisation of the player’s innate flair and spontaneity.
  • Coaching is like welding, stay away too long and you lose the fine touch.
  • Coaches should above all appreciate that no player is going to reach full potential unless his or her own natural capabilities are allowed to grow and flower.
  • To the coach what manner of player you are is not important. What matters is what kind of player you will become! To achieve this you have to renounce the player you have been. To renounce him, you have to take him apart and examine him piece by piece. Only you, the player can do this.
  • There are no good coaches. There are coaches who see patterns others don’t. Then there are coaches who understand the patterns unique to the individual player. Finally there are coaches who can transmute the theory into reality.
  • At all times it is the player who should be ‘in focus’. If the coach considers himself in charge and of importance then a certain amount of his energy is directed into maintaining his position and feeding his ego. Therefore not all of his energy is centred only on the player and in giving the player the best of all possible opportunities to reach his/her full potential
  • When a coach is able to produce better players and to obtain better results than the National Association, this is not only unacceptable but almost always absolutely unforgivable.
  • If you want to compete by playing and thinking differently, you must work with coaches who have a similar mentality.
  • In matters of technical skill there are 4 levels — competent, very good, brilliant and ‘a natural’. The last category goes beyond mere skill and into an area where all technical knowledge is backed by an innate ‘feel’, a gut instinct, a sixth sense, an empathy with the subject and the machinery which by its very nature cannot appear in the textbooks.