As a committed and passionate coach, you probably care deeply about the success of your team.  But how do you define “success” for your team?  Different coaches define “success” in various ways.  For some it may be an undefeated season.  For others, it may be seeing skill and character development in their players or team.  For others still, it may be a fun season where strong relationships were built.  No matter the different ways to define it, all coaches must be effectivein order to reach their specific idea of success.  Below is a working model of coaching effectiveness that provides an outline of the antecedent factors that affect or determine a coach’s behavior in addition to the way a coach’s behavior can affect the performance and psychosocial growth and development of athletes (Horn, 2008).

Box 1: Sociocultural Context

  • This refers to a coach’s sociocultural background and will affect what he/she believes, values, and how he/she behaves.

Box 2: Organizational Climate

  • This refers to the effect that the particular sport program might have on the coach.  For example, what pressures are there on a coach?  Is there media, salary, championships, job security to worry about?

Box 3: Coaches’ personal characteristics

  • This refers to who the coach is.  What is the coach’s level of self-efficacy, motivational orientation, burnout, self-reflectiveness, critical-thinking aptitude, decision-making ability, knowledge base, coaching experience, etc.?

Box 4: Coaches’ expectancies, values, beliefs, and goals

  • A coach will develop all of these concepts and predictions at the beginning of each season and these may change throughout the season.  These expectations, values, beliefs, and goals will affect how the coach behaves.

Box 5: Coaches’ behavior

  • This refers to what a coach actually does.  Most suggestions on how to be a “good coach” only refer to things that would fall into this box.  As you can see, this model suggests that much more goes into a coach’s effectiveness.

Box 6: Athletes’ performance and behavior

  • This refers to the level at which the athletes on the team practice, perform, and compete.

Box 7: Athletes’ personal characteristics

  • This refers to who the athletes on the team are.  What is each athlete’s level of self-efficacy, motivational orientation, burnout, self-reflectiveness, critical-thinking aptitude, decision-making ability, knowledge base, sport experience, etc.?

Box 8: Athletes’ perceptions, interpretation, and evaluation of their coaches’ behavior

  • This refers to how a coach’s behavior comes across to an athlete.  It is important to remember that the actual actions of a coach may not be as important as how they are perceived!

Box 9: Athletes’ self-perceptions, beliefs, and attitudes

  • This refers to how the athletes on the teams view themselves.  This can involve their beliefs about how they feel they are doing in their sport and how they think their coach or team feels about them.

Box 10: Athletes’ level and type of motivation

  • This refers to the level and type (intrinsic or extrinsic) of motivation of the athletes.  Intrinsically motivated athletes are driven by internal factors such as love for the sport, striving for personal improvement, etc.  Extrinsically motivated athletes are driven by external factors such as rewards, status, etc.

This model highlights three main points: 1) coaches’ behavior in athletic contexts does not occur in a vacuum, rather preceding factors can explain the types of behavior coaches exhibit in an athletic context, 2) coaches’ behavior effects athletes’ performance and behavior both directly and indirectly, and 3) the effectiveness of different coaching behaviors will be mediated by situational and individual difference variables (Horn, 2008).  This model does a good job at emphasizing the fact that a coach’s effectiveness is due to many factors and how they interact with and affect one another, not just what a coach does.  It is crucial to remember that as you work on becoming more and more effective as a coach to not just focus on your behavior in an athletic context, but to learn more about yourself, your athletes, your surroundings, and how these things interact with and affect one another.