Sports website

As a coach you should aim to teach in a friendly, positive manner, showing empathy with the performer and creating a positive learning environment. However, the way in which you teach should be modified depending on whom you teach. For example, if you are teaching children it is important to ensure that not only oneself is rewarding an action either verbally or physically but also other people in their lives like their peers and parents. From reviewing the ‘difficulties in application of the reinforcement principles.

I believe when coaching I should think about the following: I must identify what things my players finds rewarding and punishing as what will encourage or discourage one may not be the same for another. Once I have found this I must ensure that it does not lose its value and are used sparingly Peers provide an extremely important source of reinforcement as do the child’s parents and family. A coaches reward or punishment may not always work because the student wants or needs the reinforcement that the peer group offers more than the ones the coach gives. I should aim to eliminate poor or incorrect sources of advice.

My research clearly shows that effective punishment must be: immediate, intense, unavoidable and consistent. If you cannot deliver punishment under these conditions, then the punishment is likely to fail. I should therefore issue punishment immediately during a practice session, or if in a match situation straight after. The same rewards and punishments should be kept if possible. My background knowledge tells me that punishment is, by definition, an aversive, painful consequence. People experience very negative emotional states when they get punished. When a coach uses punishment, the players will probably feel angry or fearful or hopeless and they will then connect or associate these negative feelings with the source of the punishment, the coach.

I must therefore ensure that punishment is only given when needed and rewards are given equally as much when deserved so there is a balance. Reinforcement theory has been most strongly tested with animals, particularly pigeons. And that research with pigeons has yielded outstanding results. The problem for coaches is that the research used reinforcement principles on one pigeon at a time. Coaches teach a whole flock. The sheer size of a team brings a very difficult dimension into the proper application of reinforcement theory.

I believe that the reinforcement theory is used too often by coaches and typically under the wrong conditions. The theory should work marvellously when it is properly employed. Under the correct conditions, monkeys and pigeons, boys and girls and men and women will be strongly influenced through the skillful use of reinforcement principles. If you deviate from these general rules, the application of reinforcement will be ineffective. It is also important to realise that these inefficiencies do not make the theory a failure, but rather these inefficiencies simply show it is difficult to implement the theory in the practical world.

Appraisal I believe this study has been successful and I have achieved my objectives. The facts and advice in the literature I have read and reviewed will hone my ability to coach small children and improve my own performance. My studies in Psychology has aided in my understanding of the topic of reinforcement but I found other background reading was also essential to enhance my knowledge. A visit to the local library did not really aid in my search as their selection of reading material was quite limited in this area.

Unfortunately I did not have the time, transport or money to travel to a larger specialist library where the information would have been more readily accessiable. The internet was quite helpful with a range of sites but the search engines often found sites that had no relevance to my study in the slightest other than that they had ‘sport’ in the title. A well known Sports website is [email protected] , one which I was sure would yield some useful information. Unfortunately it contained little information on reinforcement itself and so I sent him an E-mail (please see Appendix 1). I did get a reply telling me to look at the website again, which I did but unfortunately to no avail.

If I were to carry out this study again in the future, I would not change anything. I might however add one or two more objectives to further the study and enhance my knowledge. This could be for example: I would also like to put the information I have found and strategies I have learnt about into practice to see how effective they can be. This could also be away of furthering my study. The various methods and principles of coaching are related to the topic of reinforcement and so I feel this would be good to link it too if I were to carry out another study. To coach is an art, and to refine a performance in another you have to use reinforcement. They complement each other well and you have to be good at both to make a difference.

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