If we want to understand player match behaviour better there are 3 factors to consider.
Context is the situation in which the behaviour occurs. So, for example, a particular behaviour may occur only in certain match situations.
Form is the behaviour that we see. So, for instance, a player who gives up when losing, a player who plays poorly under pressure, or a player who acts angrily when not meeting expectations.
The function is the reason for the behaviour. When we look at behaviour through a functional lens we are repeatedly asking ourselves, “What is the player’s current behaviour in the service of”? “Why might it be occurring”?
When we look at match behaviour we can often see that similar forms of behaviour e.g., giving up, acting angrily…might have different functions. It’s the function that is important for us to understand if we want to help players regulate their behaviour.
A couple of things compelled me to write this article…First, when coaches find out that I played for Peter Smith when he was at Pepperdine, they often ask me about his coaching qualities. Also, last week I had dinner with Jack Jaede…
Jack is a player who I worked extensively with over several years as a junior and when he finished high school in 2014 he had a tough decision to make…
Tennis Australia coaches believed that Jack should forgo college and turn professional and therefore offered him an incredible scholarship opportunity to train at the Brisbane Academy among top 100 ATP players.
But I believed that there were a couple of colleges that could provide an even better environment to help Jack develop both his personal and tennis qualities, and so I strongly recommended he consider these pathways.
One of these recommendations was Peter Smith and USC.
In the end Jack chose to go to USC, and after talking with him about how happy he is...
One emerging theme in player development involves the idea of creating independent players.
But this goal underestimates the importance of the coach-player relationship. And brain research has shown that it’s not possible to create an independent player anyway.
So how can we balance players’ best interests by simultaneously encouraging the coach-player relationship while also supporting their developing autonomy?
Let’s take a look.
The Independence Myth...
It’s important for coaches to incorporate non-directive coaching methods that encourage players’ ability to problem solve, make sound decisions, take responsibility for actions, and behave in a more self-determined manner.
But these goals must be balanced with the recognition of the importance of strong coach-player relationships.
It is, I believe, a trap to emphasize player independence to a point that we ignore what research has revealed about the social nature of our development.
Coaching requires a degree of explicit/directive approaches, especially when a player lacks knowledge/skill in the area being coached. Due in part to ease of delivery, it's tempting as a coach to focus our communications solely on this explicit style of advice relating to task improvement (E.G., "This is how you should do it".)
But over time, players can tend to switch off to continual explicit instructions from coaches, and we need to have more communication strategies in our 'kit bag'.
If you're working with a player who you feel is doing a poor job of listening to, and implementing, explicit advice that you find yourself continually repeating, here are 6 simple strategies that you might find improves player implementation of your advice...
1.) Check For Understanding
When you're giving a player direct/explicit advice, frequently check the player's level of comprehension.
You might do this by asking for understanding or you might look for situations in which...
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