The most common mistakes made by coaches
Collective sport at the age of training has a fundamental importance in the physical and psychosocial development of the person. Competitive practice may very well be a stimulus for the child to grow alongside values such as effort, friendship or personal development, or it may be a limiting element if training methods are not appropriate.
In both career sport and maturity, the style and techniques used by the coach affect both their own athletic performance and personal areas such as self-esteem, group membership or self-perception of skills. Therefore, one of the main goals of sports psychology is to detect which practices are positive or negative for athletes in order to be able to modulate them and achieve better performance.
In this article, I will detail a total of three mistakes in the management of sports teams that are often observed in the practice of competitive sports. These mistakes are usually based on strategies and methodologies that do not understand the psychological reality of athletes in certain match circumstances. Thanks to the continuous study in this area of sports psychology, sports professionals already have the guidelines to reorient training strategies in search of the best results, both in sport and in group cohesion.
1. Hot hand / cold hand
Extensively studied in team sports such as basketball, Warm hand effect (Hot Hand) is the sporting side of player error and card games.
What is the Hot Hand effect? When a player completes a three-shot streak, the coach tends to ask other players to play the player in the playoffs on the next shot. This is a common mistake because, although it is counterintuitive, the chances of success of this version are not increased by past events.
Beyond a positive scoring streak, the challenge for the coach is to keep a cool head and understand to what extent the stripped player can maintain this level of precision, either because of his ability to grow in the face of the pressure or, on the contrary, it can be affected by excessive pressure and euphoria, forcing shots with the added handicap of defenders more attentive to their movements.
In short, the Hot Hand effect is just one cognitive error. The decision to continue betting on the playoff player must not be based on the misleading approval provided by past events.
2. Positive reinforcement
Many athletes reading this second point will feel identified with the following phrase: “Guys, if we win the next three games, I invite you to dinner.” This offer, made by the coach, may have a slight positive effect on the extrinsic motivation players. However, intrinsic motivation eventually wanes, for two reasons:
a) The prize that reinforces victories does not value the process of sporting and collective growth but the simple achievement of certain ends. This is interpreted by the athlete as follows: “It’s okay to learn to play, no matter the ethics, it’s okay to respect my teammates and rivals. It’s just important to win. ” Therefore, the final score (also depending on external circumstances such as the quality of rivals) is prioritized in terms of the process of technical, tactical, psychological improvement and group cohesion.
b) The award is presented as something foreign to sport; sport is not interpreted as an end but as a means. This circumstance also has the effect of reducing the intrinsic motivation players.
Positive reinforcement, as we see, should be applied as a supplement and take the same sport as motivation. For example, you can try to increase the extrinsic motivation of the group by inviting them to attend a match of a high level team in the same sport (award not external to the sport) if they manage to train with a good intensity and to perform a game on learning during games (the process is rewarded, not the result).
3. Authoritarian trainer
There is a coach profile that just give feedback to their players; if applicable, only for the star player. He is only able to offer negative reinforcements when players fail or do not understand a tactical concept, but it is difficult to see them in the task of correcting with precise and calm instructions.
These practices cause the team to tactical confusion (such as not knowing why a specific game is being used in a given circumstance of the match), to issues of lack of confidence, which in fact generate the potential of the players is significantly diminished.
How can the coach anticipate these problems? establish a trust feeling and communication with players; try to use positive corrections if someone makes a mistake, without pointing out the culprits and generally maintaining an egalitarian and constructive group dynamic.