The Science of Coaching, News (Whitchurch Stouffville Minor Hockey Association)

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The Science of Coaching
Submitted By Nathan Tratnik on Saturday, November 3, 2012
We've all heard and used the expression "the art and science of _________..." (fill in the blank).  It's a well-used term in so many facets of life.  Things, afterall, are rarely black and white (except for Clipper jerseys of course).

Still there are many principles that become common wisdom and this holds true in coaching.  First and foremost, having your team's and your players' collective best interests at heart is the foundation.  Skill development.  Team strategy. Motivation. Sportsmanship.  Role Modeling.  Communication.  All solid components of the best ever coaches.  But what about STYLE

HOW a coach communicates turns out to be just as important as WHAT is being communicated!  
And, it turns out, there is some science to prove this.

A recent Globe & Mail article points out that positive reinforcement, and praise for what a player has done or is doing right, produces a positive effect on performance and increases the hormone testosterone in the player's system.  Conversely, negative reinforcement, pointing out shortcomings and focusing on areas requiring improvement lowers the player's performance and hormone levels.

"According to sports psychologists, the line between physical and psychological is blurrier than you might think. Thanks to the influence of hormones like testosterone, getting your motivation and mental state right can give you a powerful physical boost – but getting it wrong, ..., can hobble you." (Globe & Mail)

The article goes on to cite studies involving players being shown different video clips, having different coaching styles and different coaching messages pre & post games, and measuring performance as well as hormone blood levels.  The results are revealing and give us all something to think about.... lest we forget that as parents we are often caught giving our own rendition of off-ice and car-coaching and must bear some of the consequences of our own 'coaching' styles.

Tim Messner, our Vice President of Rep Hockey and Head of the Coach Mentor programme, is a big believer in bringing our best game to the rink through positive reinforcement and the power of positive messaging.  Turns out, his message now has some science to it back up! 

For the full article, click on the link below:

Angry Coaches Beware (Globe & Mail, Oct 28)
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