How can you alter your style of teaching to meet the demands of different practice and competitive situations for individual, racket and team activities?

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Adam Clarke

HOW CAN YOU ALTER YOUR STYLE OF TEACHING TO MEET THE DEMANDS OF DIFFERENT PRACTICE AND COMPETITIVE SITUATIONS FOR INDIVIDUAL, RACKET AND TEAM ACTIVITIES?

The job of a teacher or coach is to create the right conditions for learning in order to motivate, keep safe and develop the skills of the people they are teaching. Good teaching and coaching “enables the athlete to achieve levels of performance to a degree that may not have been possible if left to his/her own endeavours.”(United Kingdom Coaching Strategy). However, there is not one particular style of teaching that is considered the correct way to do this, but that the teaching style must be suited to the demands of the environment. Therefore, a good coach or teacher must be able to alter his or her teaching style to meet the demands of different sporting activities.

The range of teaching styles is often put on a spectrum from A to J. Style A is the Command Style. It consists of the teacher making all the decisions for the group, and is very authoritative. For example, the teacher would say what they were to do, for how long and then provide feedback after. The students or athletes have no say in the running of the activity but instead follows the orders of the coach. This method has the “ability to elicit a high degree of uniformity, conformity and efficiency in time use”(Toole and Arink 1982). As you go across the scale, the style of teaching becomes less autocratic and more democratic, with the learner making more decisions for themselves. For Example, style C is the Reciprocal style where the learners work in pairs or small groups. While one would perform the activity, the other would observe and provide feedback, like a teacher. The coach would overlook the whole practise and provide feedback to the observer. Further along, style F is the Problem Solving approach, or style G, Guided Discovery. The learners would be given a task and left to find out how best to solve it themselves. The teacher becomes a reference point. All methods of teaching have their advantages and disadvantages but the important issue is to use the correct style for the activity you are coaching.

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Firstly, the coach must decide what style of teaching would be most appropriate for the activity and group he or she is coaching. There are several factors this depends on such as age, gender, size, ability and motivation of the group and also the environment in which the activity is taking place, including weather and surface. If the group is large, for example coaching a team sport, then it is perhaps best to use the Command style. This strict, authoritarian approach would enable a coach to maintain control of large numbers, whereas a more democratic and individual approach could ...

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