More on Gender Difference and Coaching

26 04 2010

I recently was called by a reporter who was writing a story on gender differences and coaching. I’m posting the link to his story here, as he did a nice job representing the current debate and ongoing discussion about coaching girls and coaching boys .

Stay tuned for more research-based information this topic coming soon!

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Did You Know? Videos: Hot Topics in Coaching

15 04 2010

I put together a few Did You Know? powerpoints and turned them into short videos (1:22-1:34 in length).

One is about the scarcity of female coaches in youth sport and the other is about gender differences & similarities in coaching.

I’d love your feedback as this is a bit a work in progress. Here is what I’d like feedback on:

  • Content
  • Length
  • How could these best be used?
  • What other topics would you like to see in a DYK?
  • Any other feedback you feel is relevant.

Thanks in advance. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

(thanks to Austin Stair Calhoun for overlaying the cool music!)





Effective Behaviors for Coaches Regardless of Athlete Gender

3 03 2010

Is coaching boys and girls different?

I’m putting together a presentation on “Differences Coaching Boys and Girls: The Facts and the Myths”. Given my position as the Associate Director in The Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport, without fail every time I give a coach or parent workshop, this question is raised– “What are the differences in coaching girls?”

I can’t summarize an entire hour presentation here, but I will tell you there are a set of evidence-based coaching behaviors every coach should employ regardless of the gender of the athlete.   Here are a few of those strategies:

•Develop skills
•Provide rationale for tasks & limits
•Inquire about & acknowledge feelings
•Allow as much choice as possible within limits

To learn more about this workshop or to schedule one for your organization, contact me via email at nmlavoi@gmail.com





The 3G’s (as in Great) of Effective Coaching

18 10 2009

My last blog post outlined the “3C’s” (as in Champion) of coaching, this blog is about the 3G’s (as in Great).

GAC HOF 016_Wilk cropThe 3G’s are not mine, but a creation of Steve Wilkinson, former men’s tennis coach of Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN. Wilk has a unique philosophy which has allowed him to become the most winningest coach of collegiate tennis, whom I’ve written about in a previous blog. The ironic thing is that nothing in his philosophy has to do directly with winning. Wilk was inducted into the Gustavus Athletic Hall of Fame this weekend, along with my teammate Amy (McCrea) Morrell. In his speech Wilk talked about the 3G’s–gifts, grace, and gratitude.

The 3G’s are a great compliment to the 3C’s, as coaching is a gift for which we should be grateful, and one we are allowed to do by grace.  This is by far a simple explanation for the eloquent words Wilk uses to describe his coaching career. I’m certain there will be more blogs on this topic in the future.





LaVoi’s 3C’s of Effective Coaching

17 10 2009

If there is one theoretical framework that can easily be applied to helping coaches be more effective, it is the motivational framework of the Self-Determination Theory (SDT). SDT posits that human beings have 3 essential needs: the need for relatedness, the need to feel competence, and the need for autonomy.

I like to call these needs “The 3C’s“–care, competence, & choice–as talking “theory” is usually not met with interest and enthusiasm! When the three needs are not being met, well-being, optimal health, functioning, performance, and development are less likely to occur. Coaches play a unique role in meeting the needs of their athletes. If you’re interested in increasing your effectiveness as coach, parent, manager or any task that involves social interactions with other human beings, I’d encourage you to learn more about SDT.





The Case of the Pink Hockey Gloves

22 09 2009

pink glovesA couple years ago a student in my Psychology of Coaching class told me a story of a local youth hockey coach. This coach wanted to make his team of U12 boys “tougher.” To accomplish this goal, he decided to give the least tough skater on his team (in his opinion) a pair of pink gloves to wear for the next practice. He named this honor “the pussy gloves.” A majority of the time, the pink gloves were awarded to the same boy. I wish I were making this up.

There are so many reasons why this motivational tactic is the farthest thing from motivational, aside from the fact it is sexist and homophobic. Unfortunately this type of coaching behavior is not uncommon and often goes unchallenged as the status quo.





A Coach Who Gets it Right

27 07 2009

WilkIn the media we more often hear horror stories than positive stories regarding coaches. Fortunately many coaches do get it right and positively affect the lives of countless others.

A wonderful example of just such a coach is Steve “Wilk” Wilkinson, Ph.D., former Head Men’s Tennis Coach of Gustavus Adolphus College. Wilk just retired after 39 years of coaching at Gustavus and is the winningest men’s collegiate tennis coach at any level. His teams competed in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) and achieved a record of 334-1 (.997) in his tenure (you can read more about Wilk’s many accomplishments here, here, and here.)

While his record is impressive, it is his legacy of using tennis as a vehicle to holistically develop young people that is to be most admired. Wilk is a true exemplar whose definition of success has nothing to do with winning. To hear him explain his “Three Crowns” philosophy of positive attitude, full effort, and sportsmanship, listen to these short videos (here and here)-it is well worth your time.

His philosophy is a real life example of how a primary focus on things that can be controlled—rather than on winning—can lead to simultaneous positive development and positive experiences and increase the likelihood of optimal performance. If only there were more Wilks in the world of sport and the world in general, it would surely be a better place for everyone.