Coaching Session Evaluation
- Pages: 10
- Word count: 2336
- Category: Coach
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With this model in mind, the author of this essay, who represented the coach in the coaching session, will consider back to the session and reflect what planning had to be involved and why, and what was intended and included.
The author of this essay is herself a passionate Badminton player, exercising regularly for the University and a local team. From her own experience in these teams, she knew that many players struggle with the tactical positioning in this sport, particularly in the doubles’ game. Tactical positioning is a crucial element to succeed in Badminton (Grice, 1996). For this reason, the coach had chosen the following aim for the session: raising awareness of tactical positioning in the doubles’ game of Badminton, therefore the objective was accurate defensive and attacking positioning.
To achieve these aims and objectives, the author invited four players, two men and two women, from the above mentioned teams to take part in the Badminton session (see Appendix 1). The participant’s level of play can be stated as advanced, hence gender was not showing a significant impact on the later performed exercises and match situation. According to training guidelines stated by Martens (1997), the participants had to be and were able to match necessary requirements of the conducted training program, which included knowledge of specific skills and shots like ‘the ready position’, footwork, drop shot, smash etc..
The 45 minute lasting session itself consisted of four parts: a brief introduction, a 10 minute warm-up, a 28 minute long main part and a short cool down.
The intention of the introduction was to give the participants a concise overview of the session’s aims and objectives aswell as informing about potential hazards and dangers. The sports hall policy about appropriate sports wear and shoes was already mentioned in the invite (see Appendix 1). ‘To produce the safest environment possible for the athletes and the coach’ (Martens, 1997), further essential risk management, within the introduction, included the explanation of emergency exits and the procedure of raising the alarm and informing the University Security Office through the Emergency telephone. The coach herself had identified, evaluated and made herself familiar with potential risks and dangers as well as appropriate behaviour in case of an emergency by a pre-session risk management through inspecting the venue a day before the actual session. Before the start of the session, the floor was examined to avoid injuries caused by potential trip hazards like wholes or dirt.
As stated by Martens (1997), the intention of a warm up is not only preventing respectively reducing the likelihood of potential injuries but to improve the athlete’s performance (Sports Coach – Warm Up and Cool Down). Moderate jogging including ballistic stretching of specific arm and leg muscles was used to raise blood circulation and the respiratory rate as well as increasing the body temperature (Martens, 1997; Sports Coach – Warm Up and Cool Down), followed by more specific Badminton movements including side walks and side steps (Grice, 1996).
To progress on, the next warm-up exercise included movement on court, simulating game play without a shuttle. This is called shadow Badminton and allowed the participants to perform key elements of Badminton like positioning to the ‘central position’ (CP), accurate footwork and performing different shots. All six key positions of the court had to be reached in a specific order within timed 30 seconds (see diagram 1). After a following 30 second break to regain stamina, the exercise was modified to a more realistic game play by giving the athlete the choice of which position to chose. A further 30 second break was followed by the last shuttle and included a realistic game play with a free order of positions to reach, this time with increased speed. Along with Givemefootball – The professional footballers association, this ghosting exercise showed full characteristics of ballistic stretching: specific and related movements as well as increased effort to prevent muscle stiffness and muscle injury (Sports Coach – Warm Up and Cool Down).
To conclude this Badminton specific warm-up, Grice (1997) suggests 5 minutes of gentle knocking with a shuttle. This was performed by the participants, including all possible Badminton shots like Clear, Drop, Drive, Smash and net play.
The main part consisted of 2 appropriate exercises to achieve the session’s objectives as well as implementing newly acquired skills into a realistic match of doubles. Exercise 1 was training the defensive positioning and allowed one pair to play against the other, attacking couple. Due to the advanced level of play of the participants, the coach could assume that basic skills and knowledge of defence as well as attacking positioning were existent. The new main idea introduced now was, that the defending player had to follow his/her long line shot to the side including the partners movement to the middle line maintaining the basic concept of being level with the partner. A cross court shot resulted in following the defender to the middle line, the partner to the side line (see diagram 2).
Moving according to one’s own shot will allow the defending pair to quickly respond to the opponents’ attacks. If the defender plays a long line shot and follows to the sideline, a long line attacking smash can quickly enough be responded by another defensive shot. If the opponents play a cross attacking shot like a drop, the defender’s partner at the middle line will still have enough time to reach this shot as a cross shot will take more time to reach the corner. Hence it is to advise hardly ever to play a cross attacking shot in Badminton as this will allow the defending opponents to quickly enough place themselves into the appropriate defending position and possibly even counter attack the shot.
The positions of player A and B as well as the positions C and D were changed within the exercise to guarantee experiencing both the left and the right, respectively the front and the back side. After 5 minutes the couples changed playing from defence to attack and vice versa.
Exercise 2 intended to empower an attacking couple to perform the rotation system while attacking. The coach, assisted by player C ‘feeding’ the coach with shuttles, provided a rally of 20 shuttles played into the key positions shown on diagram 3. The positions were targeted in order from 1 to 8. Starting position for attacking player A is shown on the diagram 3 as well as the position for Player B. Player D was first observing, then helping to pick up the shuttles on the ground. Key elements of this exercise included ‘being in line’ with the partner though positions changed. Therefore the coach used the racket as demonstration material, the head of it representing the attacker at the net and the grip the attacker at the back. By rotating the racket like the players had to rotate on court, it was made visible that rotation includes the partner’s movement according to one’s own movement (see diagram 3). To provide a realistic game situation, the coach had to quickly target all key positions as the doubles’ game is a fast game requiring quick movements (Grice, 1996).
The following 5 minutes lasting doubles’ match gave the opportunity to implement the newly acquired skills.
A contingency plan was not needed as all exercise could have been performed even though one respectively two participants wouldn’t have arrived. Then the coach would have played in their positions respectively played as a single attacker in exercise 1, however making it more difficult to observe the progression of each participant’s development.
To conclude the session, a brief cool down was conducted allowing the body to return to normal pace, reducing its temperature and to remove lactic acid build up during the vigorous exercises (Grice, 1996; Sports Coach – Warm Up and Cool Down). Gentle jogging as well as a static stretching was performed. According to Sports Coach – Warm Up and Cool down, a static stretching should be preferred within a cool down compared to a ballistic stretching in the warm up, as this will increase the range of movement as well as helping to relax the muscles.
When planning a coaching session, it is important to identify resources (Ewles and Simnett, 1999). Within this case, the coach was given the opportunity to use the University sports hall as well as their posts and nets. Two courts to perform the warm up and exercises were needed. Each participant was advised to bring his/her own racket(s), shuttles were provided by the coach (see Appendix 1). A stopwatch, to ensure accurate timing and time management of the session, which is important according to Martens (1997), was borrowed from the technicians room in Ramsden’s building one day in advance.
One participant offered her help in conducting a test session one day before the actual session to guarantee accurate timing.
The exercises used, were not taken from specific literature but from the coach’s own experience acquired when having taken part in training sessions abroad with former international players from leading Badminton nations like China and Denmark.
According not only to Ewles and Simnett (1999) but also to Martens (1997), Naidoo and Wills (2000), Thomas and Nelson (2001) and Sports Coach – Evaluation, evaluation is an important process to assess results, monitor effectiveness (the achievement of aims and objectives), ensure appropriateness of exercises and demonstrate efficiency, not only within coaching. These will feed then back into the planning process for a further session in order to progress and improve practice.
Ewles and Simnett (1999) suggest two different ways of evaluation: self evaluation, requiring the ability of self-reflection, and feedback from others. The coach included both methods when planning appropriate evaluation methods for this session. But to ensure an objective measurement of effectiveness, efficiency and appropriateness, a questionnaire with scaled items and a column for further comments was designed several days in advance (see Appendix 3). All questions are reflecting training guidelines as well as the aims and objectives the session was intended to target.
Within the introduction the participants were informed about filling out the questionnaire to feedback to the coach after the session. The method of using a questionnaire compared to an interview, was chosen for time saving reasons, as some participants had to shortly leave the venue after the finish. A little reward, chocolate, was given out after answering the question. To ensure objectivity of the participants, the surprise reward was only given out, when all four participants had completed the questionnaire.
As Appendix 4 shows, the feedback from all four participants is positive. They all enjoyed the session and stated having learned something new that will affect their future play. They felt, the session had involved the necessary planning in advance. The exercises may have been difficult, but the coach and the demonstrations were easy to understand. All stated that the exercises were absolutely appropriate. The overall mark of ‘excellent’ was awarded to the session by all four players. One player stated that the session had been ‘very useful’.
According to this positive feedback, the coach’s self-reflecting impressions of the session are very similar. Though a more autocratic style in leading the training was used, the coach provided the knowledge and decided what to do, no disciplinary actions had to be taken and interactive communication was possibly. Positive feedback from the coach through verbal praise as well as guidance throughout the exercises was given several times. Participants were asking questions and getting appropriate answers back; appropriate in the coach’s eyes as this is self-reflection. To the coach’s satisfaction and showing that effectiveness was reached, the players demonstrated within the short match the newly acquired skills.
When mentioning where the exercises came from (not literature but the coach’s experience with international players) the coach noticed positive statements of approval. This statement might have influenced the participant’s answer of appropriateness of the exercises.
Positively noticed by the coach was the good time management. The session was intended to last 45 minutes; at the end the stopwatch showed 45min, 42 seconds.
The only negative aspect stated by the coach herself, were evaluated shortly after exercise 2. A few more practices of providing the shuttles to the players would have enhanced the exercise as accurate shots weren’t always guaranteed. This was due to a lack of practice of this exercise, even though a test session was conducted.
According to Martens (1997) and Ewles and Simnett (1999), a session plan shall be conducted, including basic information about the ‘where’, ‘when’, ‘who’ and ‘what’ as well as drills, key elements, equipment and time management. Appendix 2 shows the session planner for this training.
Then, according to Ewles and Simnett (1999), the only thing then remaining within the coaching process is the actual doing; conducting the coaching, which took place on Wednesday April 02nd 2002 at 11:45pm at the University sports hall.
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