The main purpose of football coaching is to help players enjoy themselves, learn and improve as individuals and within the framework of a team, so that they can become better players.
The best planning and preparation for a football coaching session can be totally ruined if a football coach uses a coaching style that is totally unsuitable for the specific needs of the players they are coaching. Imagine coaching David Beckham on taking free kicks. He has missed hitting the target with a couple of free kicks and you step in and say 'Stop, David. You're totally using the wrong technique. Stand aside and I'll show you what to do'. With that you step forward and attempt to demonstrate the technique that you think David Beckham should be using. The style of football coaching just wouldn't work and in fact would possibly lose you the respect of the player.
At the other end of the spectrum, you are coaching a group of 6 year old boys and they are practising some shooting and are struggling to kick the ball with the right kind of technique. You stop the session and ask one of the boys what he thinks he's doing wrong and can he show you a better way of doing it. Again, this would be the wrong style of football coaching. The 6 year old player just doesn't have the knowledge or the football experience to be able to answer the question.
Perhaps in these two examples, a football coach would be better asking David Beckham what he thinks he's doing wrong and could he think of a better way of taking the free kicks - Mr Beckham would have the knowledge and understanding to work the problem out for himself, all you as a football coach would have done was to make him think for himself and use his knowledge and experience to solve the problem for himself.
With the 6 year old, you might be better off explaining to him what you want him to do and then practically demonstrating the technique he should use, let him see how you do it and then let him copy it. This would allow him and the other players to better understand what they need to do. With young players like this you as a football coach must constantly work hard to show the players what you want them to do and always let them try the skill for themselves.
Provide a football coaching environment where players are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning.
The football coaching style a coach adopts will very much be based upon the football coaches own personality, the age and ability of the players being coached, the numbers of players in the group, health and safety and the kind of session / technique / skill being coached. The ability of the football coach to identify and use a particular style of football coaching is a skill on its own.
There are a number of football coaching styles, but we are going to focus on two main styles of football coaching.
COMMAND STYLE OF COACHING FOOTBALL
The Command Style would be used when a football coach essentially takes control of the session and commands what is happening. It enables the football coach to establish safety and discipline parameters, control young players and large groups and make effective use of limited time. It will ensure that players work towards a theme and standard of performance established by the football coach.
GUIDE AND DISCOVERY STYLE OF COACHING FOOTBALL
The Guide and Discovery style, is a method of football coaching that allows you to 'guide' the players and let them 'discover' the answer to a specific learning target for themselves. Football coaches should be prepared to ask questions of the players and develop the session on a gradual, progressive step by step basis. This style of football coaching encourages the players to become more involved and take ownership and responsibility in understanding the reasons why they do certain things on the football pitch. The use of questions and asking players to demonstrate and 'show' you the football coach, the skill or technique is very important in this style of coaching football. To use this style of coaching football you have to be confident that the players have the knowledge to be able to 'discover' the answer to the 'guiding' question.
Phillip Troussier* (former national team manager of Nigeria, Japan and South Africa) has stated,"I believe that 60% of the result comes from the relationship between the coach and the players".