(English) There are many things that will impact a coach’s style. Some of these factors are intrinsic and part of the coach’s personality whilst other factors are extrinsic (e.g. teachers or coaches that they have had).

What is most important is that a coach uses a style that is authentic for them, not simply adopting or “acting” what they have seen other coaches do.

Coaching Styles

Just as each athlete is an individual, each coach is an individual too. And whilst coaches may use different approaches in different situations, they will most likely have a particular style that characterizes their personality.

There are many descriptions used for the various coaching styles that exist – no one style is right or wrong, they are merely different. Each style has advantages and disadvantages and it is important that coaches are aware of these.



Coaching Style



Authoritarian coach

  • Strong unwavering disciplinarian
  • Demand maximum effort from everyone all the time
  • Little input from players
  • Well organized
  • Good team spirit when winning
  • Clear expectations and goals set and understanding of the “big picture”
  • Dissension when losing
  • May be feared or disliked
  • Athletes may feel “dis-empowered”

Businesslike coach

  • Focused with a logical and well planned approach
  • Up to date with trends in the game
  • Seeks input from players but makes final decisions
  • Sets clear performance indicators
  • Reviews and evaluates performance – willing to change
  • Asks players questions and asks for input
  • May set goals that are too high for some team members
  • May be seen as distant or aloof

“Nice Guy” coach

  • Well liked
  • Thoughtful and personable
  • Involves players in determining team decisions
  • Gets on well with players, particular those with the same temperament
  • Players “buy into” the team plan
  • Players may take advantage of coach’s cooperative nature
  • Difficulty in making decisions unpopular with players

Intense coach

  • Strong emphasis on winning
  • Driven and focused on what needs to be achieved
  • Focused game plan
  • Sets high expectations
  • High anxiety often transmitted to players
  • Often has “outcome” focused goals, but lacks detail of the “process”

Easy-going coach

  • Very casual
  • May give impression of not taking game seriously
  • Well-liked
  • Empowers players
  • May not prepare well for training / games
  • Teams may lack preparation to deal with adversity

(English) Coaches are often depicted in movies and the media as being authoritarian – yelling directions, issuing penalties and making decisions in isolation.
This style of coaching can also be seen every weekend, with coaches walking along the sidelines, yelling at teams and often the coach adopts this demeanour because they believe that is how coaching is supposed to be done!

It is a common trap for coaches to adopt the style of another coach or mentor when they are coaching, rather than being themselves. The style a coach uses will reflect their personality, but must also reflect the athletes that they are coaching.

For example, an authoritarian coach is renowned for being strict. With older athletes, they may enforce this by yelling at players and quickly taking them out of the game if they do not follow a team rule. But with younger players, they may speak more gently and use a timeout to remind them of team rules, rather than taking them out of the game.

What is Your Coaching Style?

Coaching style is closely linked to the coach’s personality and it is often more accurate to describe that a coach discovers, rather than chooses, their natural coaching style. In addition to their personality, a coach’s preferred style will also be influenced by coaches or teachers that they have had or worked with or athletes that they have coached.

It is not uncommon for a coach to change their style as they become more experienced as a coach, although this is often down to them being able to use different styles in different situations rather than changing their “natural” style.

No coaching style is considered better or more effective than any other but this does not mean it is unimportant for a coach to understand their natural or preferred style. Having an awareness of preferred coaching style (which is generally the behaviour that a coach will default to) is important in developing a rapport with players.

For example, if a coach has an assertive and authoritarian style and is coaching very experienced athletes the athletes may have an expectation
of having their opinion heard and having the opportunity to discuss tactical situations. If the coach is aware of the potential conflict in styles they
can devise an appropriate strategy. For example, with experienced athletes an authoritarian coach may:

  • designate times where there will not be discussion and the coach is responsible for whether or not correct technical decisions are made (e.g. timeouts, pre-game meetings);
  • seek input from the experienced players following games (as part of the review process);
  • allow some decisions to be made by the players (e.g. point guard determines offensive set unless the coach specifically instructs what to do).

In reflecting upon their preferred coaching style a coach may ask people that know them well (e.g. family, players they have previously coached or work colleagues). However, they should not ask “what do you think is my coaching style?” and instead should ask them to consider:

  • How do I tend to make decisions?
  • How do I react when people disagree with me?
  • How do I prepare for activities (e.g. meetings, holidays)?
  • Who generally makes plans for activities between me and my friends?

Considering such factors will give a coach insight into their style.