When you see a coach, what is your idea of their job, as in, what do you expect them to do with a team? The obvious answer is to make them the best they can be, but what about the methods they use? Do they yell: “Drop and give me twenty!” or do they ask the team what they want to do?
Then this becomes an issue of different coaching styles. We are not saying that any one of these styles is superior to others, we are simply pointing out that different teams respond better to different types of coaching. The three most widely-used coaching styles are democratic, authoritative, and holistic.
The democratic style of coaching is what you might expect. Instead of the coach calling all the shots, they consult their team. The job of the coach is to set a goal the team is comfortable with using methods the majority agrees with. The strength of this style is its focus on the athletes, especially those that already know what they are capable of and what their weaknesses are. In this setting, the coach is not above the team, they are one of its parts. It gives the athletes more say in how the training sessions are conducted, which can be particularly beneficial to young ones that are getting accustomed to making decisions and facing their consequences.
This is the most-popular old-school style of coaching. The coach is an authority figure and what they say goes. The coaches have the goal in mind and the players or athletes have little to no say in the matter. It is a carrot-and-stick style that brings out the best in some athletes but is too toxic for others.
The strength of this style lies in its development of discipline. This style is suitable for team sports and older athletes who already have an idea of what is expected of them and rarely question the coach’s decisions.
This style focuses on creating a pleasant environment, with the idea that the team which is the happiest can thrive the most. The coach is there simply to provide some level of structure, but they hold no high authority over the players. The goal is not to achieve the greatest score or to push the players to their limits, nor is it a discussion for future plans. It is simply a relaxing environment where players explore their own styles and capabilities.
The strength of this style is the freedom the players have over their own training sessions. A happy team is a successful team.
So, Which Style Is the Best?
As stated before, no style is universally great. In addition to that, very few coaches stick to one style and one style alone. In order to achieve the best results for the team, the coaches must assess what kind of coaching is the best for what group. Some instances may require a combination of all three styles!