Essendon Coach Successful vs Effective Essay

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Again, this is a feature which I found differed significantly in my own experiences. Herein, our coach was frequently moved to considerable frustration and anger by individual losses and would even subject the team to lengthy critical tirades where specific players were singled out for mistakes. These post-game diatribes were often framed by the assessment that our poor performances on any given day might cause a whole's season's work to slip away. This assessment denotes a coach who defined his goals strictly based on tangible success as opposed to such markers as player improvements.

Process v. Results:

The distinction noted above speaks to another difference between successful and effective coaching, with the latter tending to emphasize process and the former, results. This means that successful coaching will gauge its satisfaction based on such results as victories, winning records and late round victories. Effective coaching, by contrast, will gauge this same satisfaction based on less immediately tangible factors such as a player's technical improvement in a specific area; a series of practices in which the team appears to have made sustainable improvements in its chemistry; a sequence of matches where the team has lost but has taken away usable lessons. To this end, according to the Sports Education and Leadership Program at UNLV "success has to do only with getting the job done, whereas effectiveness adds to the concept of satisfaction on the part of those who do the job." (Youth First, p. 2)

The focus on process as opposed to results is especially important for a team attempting to build toward success as is the case for James Hird's Bombers. Even in the midst of his early run of victories with the team, Hird has emphasized the need for a winning attitude and a defiance of complacency as the chief recipes for advancement of the club. In many ways, this demonstrates that in the relatively young tenure of the coach, there remains a great deal left to prove if his coaching tenure is to be described as a success. However, his words in the lead-up to a match with a Greater Western Sydney club led by his former mentor in Sheedy, demonstrate that Hird's orientation where attitude is concerned is an effective one. According to an article by the AAP (2012), in the lead up to their showdown the coach commented that "I can't see why our guys would be complacent. We're trying to do something, we're trying to go somewhere. We're not anywhere near there yet, and we haven't been there for a long time,' he said. 'This club hasn't won a final, hasn't been competitive in the top end of the season for probably 12 or 11 years. You just can't afford to be complacent. You can build a year and we're trying to build that. Our guys understand that.'" (AAP, p. 1)

This type of attitude has been effective in stimulating the commitment and determination of his players, who have shown a willingness to mirror Hird's drive and diligence in their drive to win. Indeed, this attitudinal change will have a big part to play in the ability of the club to ultimately get over the hump from competitive team to premiership contender, a feat which it has not achieved since Hird captained the team in 2000. This is to suggest that process must continue to define the team because the results seen as the primary imperative in success-driven coaching may not come for some time.

Manager v. Boss

Another area of difference between effective and successful coaching is the demeanor and orientation of the coach himself. To an extent, these mark the differences between a coach who functions as a manager as opposed to one who postures himself as a boss. For the latter, successful coaching is seen as sufficient warranting for an authoritarian posture when interacting with one's players. Management is inherently more collectivist and calls for the navigation of player needs, personal desires, chemistry issues and a number of other factors shaping clubhouse culture. On this point, Mallett describes the effective coach as being defined as much by how he relates to the needs of his players as by how the team performs on the field. Mallett contends that a pre-condition of effective coaching is the capacity to "display care and interest in [the] 'whole' person," a characteristic that will certainly distinguish the effectiveness with which the coach relates to his team. (Mallett, p. 9)

Hird has an excellent track record on this point. Among the management tactics at which Hird has proven most skilled, communication is a critical one. Communication within the context of sports is specialized because there are numerous different fronts on which this communication must occur in order for players to be managed effectively. For the top coach of a team such as Hird, communication will include balancing interaction internally with players, administratively with club owners or board members and publicly with fans and the media. Because player egos must be factored into this process of communication and because the role played by the public can often be instigated by poor or incomplete communication, our primary source denotes that "a controlled attitude towards communicating with a player that has just made a fundamental error is often quite difficult for a coach to manage but nevertheless communicating the error in a controlled manner is still very important so that the athlete keeps the faith and understands the belief a coach has in their athlete." (Topic 12, p. 2)

In this area, Coach Hird made clear and effective demonstration of his willingness to toe the line with his players. Indeed, as the source above denotes, balance is essential for the coach attempting both to yield the best possible performance out of his players -- as cited in the section above -- and to put a team on the field that plays to the highest possible standards. The dilemma facing a coach in achieving this challenge was well-demonstrated most recently when Essendon's Leroy Jetta was penalized for 'staging,' or over-acting from an opposing player's contact in order to draw an undue penalty charge. The infraction resulted in the player's official reprimand at the hands of the league. This prompted a two part response from Hird, simultaneously defending the quality of his player but acknowledging the importance of playing a clean, fair and honest game.

In an article by Walsh (2012), Hird would remark on the criticism levied against his player, asserting that "Leroy's a ball player and he plays to the whistle, but sometimes habits creep into your game . . .' Hird said his only advice to Jetta was to play the ball. 'We have had a word about how we want him to play,' Hird said. 'That is to be strong at the ball and if you get a free kick, you get a free kick. I'll let it go there.'" (Walsh, p. 1)

In this regard, the coach provided an important public endorsement for his player, an effective gesture in terms of engaging sports communication appropriately and a demonstration of the strategic management called for in the effective coach. Hird would also acknowledge that modest internal steps had been taken in the form of a direct discussion with the player. This direct discussion is a further demonstration of Hird's sensitivity to the ego needs of his players. Essentially, while effective communication merely ensures that a message is being delivered and received clearly, successful communication is that in which the message is couched in a clear understanding of the impact that chosen modes of communication can have on recipients and subjects. By choosing to speak critically to Jetta in private and by defending him before the media and the league, Hird has demonstrated a critical understanding of the way that player needs and emotions must been managed through sport-contextualized communication. He also reinforces his commitment here to an effectiveness-based mode of communication.

Effectiveness without Success v. Success without Effectiveness

A final dimension of coaching due for discussion is the manner in which the two modes -- successful and effective coaching -- correlate. In many ways, the research tends to demonstrate that effective coaching does have the capacity to lead to success whereas successful coaching, as it is defined here, is unlikely to improve effectiveness. In other words, Mallett reports, "the effective coach is almost certainly competent, will acquire and display expertise and may in time be termed an expert, and in appropriate circumstances, may be successful." (Mallett, p. 7) This denotes that effective coaching is designed to create the kinds of improvements in players, team and organization that might ultimately lead to desired success achievements. By contrast, successful coaching as a method focused entirely on the ends as opposed to the means might significantly impede the effectiveness of the individual as a coach.

In many ways, Hird's management of his team's losses demonstrates a coach whose present…

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