Coaching Styles – How To Pick the Best One for Your Team

coach kids coaching styles

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When speaking about coaching styles, one refers to the direction of each session of coaching. Coaching is a broader profession than generally believed. It involves a large variety of coaching styles and techniques. The way a coach approaches the game and takes upon itself the role of both mentor and trainer of a team can have a massive impact on the overall development of the player, and ultimately of the overall game. Such a mentor also contributes to the engagement of the players in the match, which will increase performance on the field.
Below, we will go through some of the most popular and efficient coaching styles. Coaches use these techniques depending on the coaching situation. The idea is not to stick to just one of these coaching techniques but to find out what works best for a specific team or a particular game. A coach might use different coaching styles to get outstanding results.
coach kids coaching styles

What Are the most Popular Coaching Styles?

It’s important to understand that styles vary and each coach has a preferred technique. It is mostly based on personality, but one can adapt so that it meets the needs of the coaching situation or the needs of the players.

Three main coaching styles have been placed as winners when it comes to the results they bring:

  1. Autocratic, or The Authoritarian style
  2. Democratic, or The Personable style
  3. Laissez-Faire, or The Casual style

Below, you will find all key coaching styles explained, and you can decide which one is best suited to motivate your players.
coach teens coaching styles

Autocratic Coaching

Autocratic coaching is the style that approaches the situation with demands. To put it more softly, “telling” the player what they need to do, rather than asking them to perform a certain task. This is where the mentor makes the decisions, and the players simply do what they are told.
In order to approach this style, the coach has to be a strong disciplinarian. As opposed to softer coaching styles, this one requires the trainer to be in full control. The coach has to guide players towards achieving excellence by treating the team in an authoritative manner. Basically, this trainer will act as the strict teach we encounter in school.
This style leaves no room for player input. The team has to perform as they are told. It is an essential style for team sports. However, to be fully effective, the mentor has to have a clear idea of all that needs to be achieved and how to do it. It is a preferred technique for many coaches.
autocratic coach coaching styles
Autocratic coaching instills:

  • Discipline
  • Respect
  • Great coordination

Democratic Coaching

The name is pretty suggestive. The democratic approach in sports invites the player to participate in the coaching process. It encourages the team to come up with ideas and techniques. The coach still outlines the overall objectives but players are allowed to weigh in with suggestions as to how to reach these objectives.
A democratic coach will go through a few stages before making the final decision. First, the mentor will outline the players’ requirements. Then, the coach will invite the team or the player to come up with ideas. The trainer should take into account the players’ suggestions when making the final decision. Ultimately, the coach will define what the team has to do and how to do it.
democratic coach coacing styles
Democratic coaching instills:

  • The sense of “self-coaching”
  • Introspection
  • Freedom of speech
  • Improvement in the player’s decision-making

The democratic approach is a more modern/contemporary approach than the authoritarian style. Through democratic coaching, the mentor will end put putting more emphasis on the process rather than the outcome of the game. The trainer has to empower the players to take accountability for their moves; a crucial part in the future development of the team. This will also instill a sense of pride in the players. A democratic coach has to be equipped with great patience to adopt this particular method.
On the downside, too much control given to the players might be risky. Not all players’ decisions are relevant to the coaching situation, and chances are, they won’t be pulling in the same direction either. It is advised not to give too much control to youth teams. Their lack of experience will show in the given input.

Laissez-Faire Coaching

This is the most casual of all coaching styles, but it can also prove to be the riskiest. “Laissez-faire” actually translates into “leave alone”. This means that coaches who use this method leave decision-making in the hands of the players rather than making the decisions for them. Instead, they sit back and let the team function as it pleases. It follows the concept of the democratic coaching style but pushes it to the next level. This technique puts emphasis on the player’s enjoyment. A laissez-faire coach will try to create an environment in which the players can benefit from a great deal of freedom. The overall outcome should be a happy team that will work its way to success thanks to the possibility of developing new skills on their own.
A casual coach listens to the players’ suggestions and ideas but gives little feedback. Instead, players have freedom of hand in making almost all of the decisions. This means that the players take ownership over the coach.
laissez faire coaching styles
It can be a dangerous method of coaching, especially with an inexperienced team.  However, laissez-faire coaching instills:

  • A calmer disposition
  • A sense of purpose
  • The sense of “self-coaching”


All three main coaching styles have their advantages and disadvantages. A good coach should know when and how to change styles to meet the needs of a particular coaching situation. It is important to mix up techniques because each player is unique, and players will respond in different ways. While the authoritarian style can be beneficial, it is important to also work on keeping the players’ enthusiasm and happiness up. A stressed team will rarely deliver the expected results. This is when a casual style might come in handy. There is a greater chance of success if the mentor is flexible and approaches multiple methods within a coaching session.

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