One of the central problems of any instructional setting is the design and implementation of an assessment tool to evaluate both the instructorís as well as the learnerís performance. Effective teaching and coaching skills, like soccer skills do not evolve unless they are practiced with clear goals and knowledge of results.
In order to provide systematic, reliable feedback for coaching skills development, a data-based approach is needed. Such an approach will help to observe, record, measure, and graph the soccer coach's behavior as it occurs and to intervene accordingly, thus leading to acquisition of effective teaching and coaching skills in real settings.
One of the leading research institutions in the field of teacher/coach performance evaluation in America is housed at the Ohio State University's Supervision Research Program directed by Dr. Daryl Siedentop. Harrari (1993) developed the The Wingate Supervision Observation Format a basic teacher/student performance evaluation tool in collaboration with the Ohio State University Supervision Research Program.
Harrariís observation tool is composed of three main parts:
1. Player Time Analysis
2. Player Active Participation during practice, and
3. Variables Related to the Teaching/Coaching Process
Player Time Analysis: An interval recording system is used to measure the presence or absence of behaviors within specific time intervals. One interval is used to observe the child during soccer practice (5 secs.) and the next interval is used to record the observation (5 secs.). Interval data are typically expressed as a percentage of the observed behavior in a unit of time.
The main emphasis is on the coach's use or misuse of instructional time. It also has a strong courtside management focus.
Player Active Participation: A key variable in effective instruction is the number of opportunities the student has to practice the skill he/she is to acquire. During the acquisition phase the instructor should look for qualitative improvement concentrating on the technical aspects of the skill. In the practice phase, look for accuracy and speed (efficiency of performance), provide high response rate and practice reaching the level of automaticity.
Opportunity to respond is defined as number of correct and incorrect responses to target behavior by player in a given unit of time. Opportunity to respond, therefore, implies certain instructor behaviors in terms of practice structure, material selection, presentation techniques, etc. when all combined provide the player with the opportunity for a large number of psychomotor responses.
The observer uses an Event Recording procedure which can easily be converted to a rate of behavior during certain periods of time.
Variables Related to the Teaching/coaching Process: Use qualitative techniques to code variables related to the teaching process which cannot be captured by time. For example, variables like knowledge of subject matter or appropriate technique usage can be permanently recorded.
The teaching/coaching-learning process and the instructor's teaching behavior can be categorized into three main dimensions:
1. Actions -- Demonstration & Explanation
2. Interactions -- Direction, Magnitude, & Form
1. Actions: By actions we refer to instructor behavior in presenting the subject matter to be learned (demonstration and explanation) and student involvement in the process. The observational focus is on instructor behavior.
Demonstrations-- Instructor's practical content knowledge and motor ability to demonstrate a skill correctly and effectively. The demonstration should be performed in the same manner and organization format that is required in practice. During demonstration, the critical subcomponents of the skill should be verbally emphasized. This verbal explanation should short and simple. The instructor should understand the importance of student demonstrations and make good use of it in the appropriate frequencies and at the right time (see Effective Skill Demonstration Scale).
Explanations-- The verbal explanation should emphasize the sub-components of the skill. The instructor must recognize that the student's ability for information processing in a given time is limited. Therefore, the verbal explanations, including managerial related information, must be short and kept simple.
2. Interactions: Interactions are instructor actions to maintain appropriate child behavior and a positive atmosphere on the practice field and during games. Behavioral interactions can be defined as instructors' reactions to the appropriate and/or inappropriate behavior of her or his players. The interactions can be categorized into two broad categories: Positive and negative. They can be general like "good" or "excellent" or specific, such as: "Thanks for paying attention, John." Players' first names should be used during regular communications. It should provide a personal touch to the interactions in general and to the practice field atmosphere in particular.
3. Reactions: Reactions or feedback means providing information on a particular aspect of player behavior in order to modify the next response. One of the most significant functions of instructor behavior during activity is to provide feedback to the learners on their performance. Feedback is a necessary mechanism for learning, especially when teaching young children.
* Adapted and in part reproduced from Harrari, I. (1993). The Wingate supervision observation format. Unpublished Manuscript; also personal communications with Dr. Israel Harrari July, 1997.
Modeling: Teaching by Example
How and why modeling works?
How information is processed from watching a model?
First get the learnerís attention, then facilitate the retention of new concepts and or new skills. Next, the learner is engaged in motor reproduction of the newly retained skills. Motivation is now introduced to this process in order to reinforce proper motor reproduction. Motivational techniques may also be used at the initial stage of getting the childís attention, e.g., "Today Iíll show you some cool moves that when practiced and mastered will turn you into a very effective defender."
Focus Points of Effective Modeling
Focus: Attend to relevant task cues
1. Remove distractions--make the self the center of attention
2. Demonstrator characteristics
3. Verbal "show & tell" model
4. Label task parts
5. Limit number of focus points
Focus: Actively rehearse visual information
1. Prompt children to rehearse
2. Verbal self-instruction (think aloud)
3. Repeated demonstrations (spacing)
4. Keep it short and simple (KISS)
5. Allow rehearsal time between practice trials
6. Use grouping & recording techniques
Focus: The child must be able to coordinate and time the reproduction of the modeled actions
1. The demonstration should be one that the child can put into a memorable & meaningful code.
2. The skill should be one that the child can perform successfully with practice.
3. Ensure familiarity with component skill parts
4. Use whole-part-whole for complex skills
5. Consider the angle of the demonstration
6. Provide many demonstrations and ample opportunity for practice
Two points to remember about providing effective demonstrations:
1. Good demonstrations require some thought & planning.
2. Demonstrations can do as much harm as good.
Principles of effective skill demonstrations
Maximize the attention of young athletes
Continuously reinforce the focus points
Facilitate the reproduction of the newly learned skills
Keep the kids motivated
Based on lecture by Dr. Maureen Weiss, Professor of sport psychology Dept. of Phys. Ed. and human movement studies, University of Oregon, Eugene, OR 97403.
Go to the " EFFECTIVE SKILL DEMONSTRATION SCALE " (Developed by Dr. Maureen Weiss)
Go to the Coaching Performance Evaluation Form
Cal State LA
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