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The three types of coaching styles Junior Hockey News

Published: Saturday, 15 Jun 2013  
By: Elliott Holstrom


Throughout a hockey player's career he or she will encounter a number of different coaching styles. For instance, we've all seen the hothead coach who never seems to keep his mouth shut regardless of the ruling on the ice. We've also seen the laid back coach who lacks leadership, and may not have full control of their players. We like to picture a professional coach who stands up for their players, makes smart decisions, is well spoken, and keeps a good reputation.

Business or communication studies students may be familiar with the three main leadership communication styles. These styles are laissez-faire, authoritarian, and democratic. Odds are if you've played the game of hockey your whole life, as most competitive hockey players do, you've crossed paths with a coach that falls into one of these categories.

The Laissez-Faire Coach -Have you ever seen a team that has an abundance of talent, but they lack the proper discipline and instruction needed to succeed? Chances are this team has a laissez-faire coach who willingly puts forth a leader communication style that some refer to as "nonleadership."

Laissez-faire, a French word, translates roughly as "leave them alone," and can also be identified as the casual approach. This type of coach will generally allow his or her team to set their own goals, while failing to provide frequent feedback to players. Punishment is basically nonexistent, and offering rewards is often intentionally avoided. This coach will also shy away from team discussions, and avoid important interactions all together. 

The Authoritarian Coach -Authoritarian coaches to a certain degree fit the persona of the standard drill instructor in the military. Essentially this coaching style inhabits mostly opposite traits of the laissez-faire coach. Engaging primarily in a one-way downward ward communication, 

these coaches come off as intimidating and relentless.

By dominating interaction with players and setting policies or procedures unilaterally, this coach will often ignore suggestions and exhibit poor listening skills. Punishment is also frequently handed down, and obedience tends to be the only consistently rewarded behavior. 

The end result is often increased team productivity and developing a will to win. While some of these traits may seem undesirable at first glance, countless coaches have seen continued success by practicing this coaching style.


 The Democratic Coach -Also classified as the cooperative coaching style, democratic coaches tend to engage in a two-way open communication system. By exhibiting effective listening skills and practicing what some may call an "open door policy," players are more likely to voice their opinion when under the tutelage of the democratic coach.

This coach will usually involve the team in setting goals, and solicit input regarding team policies and procedures. By providing frequent positive feedback along with facilitating discussions, the democratic coach promotes openness and honesty among players and fellow coaches. Democratic coaches must draw the line between coach and friend in order for them to see positive results.



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