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Effective Coaching Styles and Methods

A coach with mastery of the different methods and communication styles is the mark of a talented practitioner.


Effective coaches use a mix of guidance, teaching, questioning and demonstration in an adaptable and flexible delivery style. These methods are often based on a number of key considerations such as the:

  • number of players in the group, their age, ability and experience

  • preferred learning style of the players

  • intended outcome and goals of the coaching practice

  • environment

  • specific needs of individuals or the group.

The interaction between the coach and the player is integral to the coaching process.


Of course, match day coaching from the touchline, is very different to working with players in training, but the different methods and styles adopted by the coach will still be evident with their contrasting characteristics.

The underlying fact is that the ability of a coach to build a rapport and trust with their players will accelerate the learning process.

Coaching methods

Each player will have their preferred learning style and will be at different stages both in terms of their understanding and their ability. There are different styles of teaching, but there are five common methods that can be adopted to engage players at a level appropriate to their stage of learning.


Principally these five coaching methods will be delivered differently by the coach dependent on factors such as age of players, philosophy and expected outcomes – short term, long term.


There are two defined approaches - Player Centred and Coach Centred


Game-playing skills are central to effective sport performance. During a game, players need to be able to assess game needs, solve problems, and respond with appropriate decisions and skills. It is for this reason that a Player Centred approach is the recommended method for youth development as players are able to develop strategic, tactical, physical, social, and emotional skills better when they are given autonomy to find game-play solutions that enhance their performance.


There does however, become a time within senior competition or higher youth level competition such as u17 International representation, when results matter. The coach’s focus is on performance and winning, and the players are expected to be ready to compete when they are included in the team.


The coaching delivery approach is now predominantly Coach Centred. This approach toward the team is controlled with authoritarian leadership and a formal structured style to assess game problems and formulate solutions through tactical strategy where players are given specific instructions within their roles and responsibilities of the team.


Training sessions may also be delivered with this approach in preparation for competition with command style coach centred delivery as the coach tells and shows required solutions in training.


RELATED: How to coach using a player-centred approach