Roles, Responsibilities and Skills of a Coach Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 19 December 2016

Roles, Responsibilities and Skills of a Coach

Alex Ferguson – A role model is a person who serves as a positive example and whose behaviour and success is emulated by others. The way the coach conducts themselves in the presence of their athletes is important to get the respect of their athletes so they are able to coach them successfully. Alex Ferguson is a fine example of a role model because he produces such successful teams and always conducts himself in a professional and respectful manner which rubs off on his players. This is especially evident in players such as Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes who are also great role models of the game and they have been heavily influenced by Alex Ferguson throughout their careers.

This is one of the reasons his team has won the league so many times, became European champions and he has created so many world class players. An example of him using this is with Wayne Rooney. When he came to United he had a very fiery temper and would often break the rules and end get yellow carded or sent off causing a disadvantage for his team but after being coached in the right way by Ferguson and following his example he has learnt to conduct himself properly and control his anger much better. This influence from Alex Ferguson has been vital in making him the top class player that he has become.

Linford Christie – Is also a great role model but in a different way. He is more of a role model to his athletes because of his own sporting achievements. He is the only British man to win a gold medal in the 100 m at all four major competitions: the Olympic Games and the World, Commonwealth, and European championships and he still holds the British 100m record. This would be impressive to any aspiring athlete and they would be more likely to respect what he says and more likely to listen to him because they know he knows what he’s talking about. His athletes are inspired by his achievements and will be more motivated by him being their coach because of all of his achievements. He is quoted in The Independent saying: “I think the athletes respond well to me because I

have been successful. I know what it takes to get to the top. I know what psychological games to play and the importance of mental power.”

Alex Ferguson and Linford Christie are similar in that they are both well respected and great role models to their athletes. Coaches like this are typically very successful because to be successful it is important for their athletes to look up to them so they listen to and respect their advice so the coach can do their job effectively and improve their performance. The differences between the coaches are that Ferguson earns his status as a role model for his coaching success and Christie gets his from his sporting success. This means that they both have different types of knowledge and would probably have completely different coaching styles. Ferguson is more experienced in coaching and a better manager of his players whereas Christie would have a better understanding of any issues his athletes may have because he has been there himself at a higher level than them and he probably doesn’t stick to the conventional coaching methods and would have his own ways of doing things.


Alex Ferguson – One of Alex Ferguson’s most important roles is being a good manager. Being a manager involves him being able to man manage players to ensure he gets the best out of them. Management is especially to Ferguson because he coaches football, a team sport so his role as a manager is important to make sure he is picking the right players in the right positions in the right games and also deciding when to make substitutions at the right time. An example of good managing by him is when he brings on Carlos Tevez as a sub in a tough game when the other forwards are tiring because he has fresh legs and a very good work rate. This has proved to be very effective for him because he has brought Tevez on at the right time in some important games and he has changed the game.

Linford Christie – One of the roles that Linford Christie would have to fulfil is being a manager. For him this would include being well organised for example having the training sessions planned before the session and most importantly the one to one man management of each of his athlete’s. This is obviously very important for Christie to have as he coaches individual athletes and he has to manage them in the right way to get the best out of them. For example, some of his athletes might respond better to him having a go at them after a poor performance and some might respond better to a friendly arm around the shoulder. It is vital that he is able to recognise which athlete’s need which type of management or he could be damage his relationship with the athlete which could result in a drop in their confidence and their performance.

Alex Ferguson and Linford Christie are similar in that they both have to have good man management skills which means they have to be good communicators, good leaders and be able to support their athletes individually. The main difference between these two coaches when it comes to managing is that Ferguson has to make a lot more decisions because he has to make a whole team work together successfully so he has the added responsibilities of picking the squad, when to drop players and who needs to be rested whereas Christie only has to be concerned with one athlete at a time and to make sure that athlete is happy and performing well.


Alex Ferguson – It is important that the coach of a successful team is also a friend to their athletes. This is because if an athlete feels that they have a good relationship with their coach they will perform better overall. Being a friend to their athletes is important to develop loyalty and a good understanding of their athletes. This enables them to know which way to coach them individually also to help the athletes overcome issues and problems such as injuries and personal problems. The main skill needed to fulfil this role effectively is good communication skills. An example of Alex Ferguson being a friend is the way he has supported and encouraged players such as Wes Brown and Owen Hargreaves through career threatening injuries and offering them advice and help.

Linford Christie – One of Linford Christie’s roles as an athletics coach is to also be a friend to his athletes. It is especially important for Christie to have this kind of relationship with his athletes because they are individual athletes and they don’t have team mates or many other coaches to rely on for support. Darren Campbell, one of his star athletes said, “Well, to begin with, he is compassionate,” says Campbell. “He is not a bully. He doesn’t throw cups of tea. People who say he is arrogant don’t know him. What it is about him is confidence, belief. I know it’s a fine line, but I have known him since I was a 14-year-old and he has always had a soft side. One of his greatest assets is that mentally he is one of the strongest people I have ever met.” It is clear from this statement that he is a friend as well as a coach to this athlete. Darren Campbell is Britain’s top sprinter so this type of coaching has proved to be a success because he is inspired by Linford Christie, he trusts him and will therefore make his job easier to coach Campbell as he will listen to his advice and put 100% into training.

Alex Ferguson and Linford Christie have similar roles to play as a coach and one of the roles they have in common is to be a friend to their athletes. They both do this well and have a good balance of when to be a friend and when to be a coach which can be a difficult balance to have but it is a vital part of achieving success with a team or an individual athlete. I think it is more important for Linford Christie to be a good friend to his athletes because he works with them on a one to one basis mainly whereas Alex Ferguson’s main role is to pick a successful team for each game and this is more important than being friendly with the players. It is part of his job to upset players because all of his players in the squad would like to play every game but obviously they can’t all the time.


Alex Ferguson – An important part of being a successful coach like Alex Ferguson is to be an educator. Even though his players are some of the best players in the world, he still has a role of educating them further so they can continue to develop as players. The educator role for a football coach includes educating the team about new formations, new positions that players may be put in and to further educate them about the game in general. A sports coach also has to have a good amount of knowledge about the scientific side of the game, such as nutrition, recovery and fitness and have the communication skills to get these messages through to the players. An example of his success because of the way he has educated his players is when the champions league semi final against Arsenal. Every player had a full understanding of the formation and their role in the team, even though some players were in a different position than what they’re used to such as Ronaldo playing centre forward when he’s usually on the wing. This is because they would have been training during the week before the game getting used to playing this way and so they could ask Alex Ferguson any questions they had about where they were playing so they knew exactly what to do when it came to the game.

Linford Christie – Also has to be a good educator in order to produce successful athletes. He has to educate his athletes mainly on their technique because he coaches sprinters and to improve their times they have to improve their technique. Christie has a lot of experience of being a successful sprinter so he passes down this knowledge to his sprinters to improve their times. An example of Linford Christie educating an athlete is when he first had Darren Campbell he realised that the best part of his 100 meter race is the last 40 metres so they needed to work on his start and his coach has educated him to improve this.

Alex Ferguson and Linford Christie both need to be educators to ensure their athletes are successful but in different ways. Alex Ferguson’s role as an educator is less specific than Linford Christie’s because the smallest detail or a slight different technique in sprinting can mean the difference between a gold medal and not even getting a medal. So Christie may have to concentrate on coaching something specific like an athlete becoming quicker off the blocks. Alex Ferguson has to concentrate mainly on team performance so his educator role mainly concerns coaching the team as a unit on larger scale things such as formation. Sometimes though, Ferguson would also have to coach individually like Christie.


Legal obligations

Alex Ferguson – Even coaches of professional teams have legal obligations which include abiding by the rules that have been put in place by FIFA. Some of these rules include player protection especially those under 18 and the rules that are set regarding signing players or selling players. For example, if Alex Ferguson wanted to sign Kaka he couldn’t approach him or even get in contact with him without his clubs consent or he would be breaching the rules. It is also his legal responsibility to make sure his players are training in a safe environment with safe equipment. He also has to make sure that there are the appropriate medical staff and facilities to take proper care of his players.

Linford Christie – Also has to apply with the legal responsibilities that come with being a sports coach. He has to make sure that he is using suitable and safe equipment and facilities when working with his athletes. Christie would also have to have the appropriate coaching qualifications to

coach at the level does. Another one of his legal responsibilities is to educate his athletes and to enforce the rules and regulations put in place by the governing body of the sport. For example, Linford Christie has to discourage his athletes from using illegal performance enhancing drugs because they are banned from the sport and if he is caught they could both be in serious trouble for breaking the rules.

Both of these coaches have to satisfy their legal obligations as sports coaches and they are similar in doing this because they have the same general legal responsibilities for any coach of any sport, some of which I have already discussed. Their roles differ slightly due to the obvious difference in the sport they are coaching. Alex Ferguson has to deal with the issue of buying and selling players and all of the rules that come with it but because Linford Christie is only dealing with individual athletes and it’s a different business where they don’t really buy and sell their athletes. Both coaches obviously have to discourage drug use but it is less popular in football than it is in athletics, particularly in sprinting so it plays more of a role in Linford Christie’s job than in Alex Ferguson.

Professional conduct

Alex Ferguson – One of Alex Ferguson’s important roles is to conduct himself professionally especially because he is in the media so much and he would get in all sorts of trouble if he didn’t act this way especially on television because there are a lot of people that look up to him. He also has to act professional around his players and his staff which would include using appropriate language, being well presented and not smoking or drinking at inappropriate times such as during training. An example of him being professional is last week when Ronaldo had a tantrum after being substituted against Man City which would have been quite embarrassing for him but when he was interviewed about it he acted professionally and didn’t turn on his player he just said that it was good that he wanted to play so much and that he’d spoken with him about it.

Linford Christie – Also has to conduct himself professionally because he is a professional sports coach and he has to be a good role model to his athletes. He has to act professionally with his athletes so things such as executing good practice, setting an example to his athletes, not swearing, drinking or smoking in his athlete’s presence and complying with the rules the governing body has set.. He should also have the appropriate coaching qualifications to be coaching Olympic athletes. An example of him being professional is when he took two of his athletes to the Olympics but because of a rule saying he couldn’t work behind the scenes with his athletes during the competition because of being caught for drugs when he was an athlete he didn’t argue it and just sat in the stands to support his athletes.

Both of these coaches need to conduct themselves professionally at all times especially when they are with their athletes because they have to set a good example to their athletes and have their respect. Their responsibilities, as far as professionalism goes are the same because they both have to be well presented, execute good practice, adhere to their code of conduct, have the appropriate qualifications to coach at the level they do and act and speak appropriately.

Health and safety

Alex Ferguson – It is his personal responsibility to ensure his players train and play in a safe environment. For example he can’t let his team train on a pitch covered in pot holes because it is dangerous and could cause injuries. He has a duty of care to follow to protect his athletes. It is also his responsibility to have the appropriate equipment and facilities as well as the health issues he will have to deal with. Issues such as, being aware of illness and injury and taking the appropriate precautions to ensure the care of the players. For example when Ronaldo was injured at the start of this season, even though he is the best player in the world and obviously he would be a big loss to the team, Ferguson has a duty of care to take care of him and not to let him play before he is properly ready because they need to win a particular game.

Linford Christie – It is his responsibility to make sure his athletes have a safe environment to train on and to make sure they are wearing the correct equipment for the training surface. For example, if an athlete turns up for training with only his running spikes and Christie has a road running session planned, he can’t let the athlete run on the concrete with running spikes on because it is dangerous.

He would just have to adjust the session. He has to make sure his athletes aren’t over trained and make sure they have appropriate rest, especially before a competition so they can perform well and be successful. It is also his responsibility to be aware of any illness or injuries that means the athlete either can’t train at all or can only do certain things so training would have to be adjusted.

Alex Ferguson and Linford Christie have the same health and safety responsibilities even though they coach different sports. They have to take health and safety precautions to ensure the safety of their athletes by preventing injuries because an athlete of a team of athletes can’t be successful if they cant participate in competition due to injury. Linford Christie has to be even more careful with his athletes because they are individual and if the athlete can’t perform they cant just be replaced like in Alex Ferguson’s team.

Equal opportunities

Alex Ferguson – Has to make sure he treats everyone fairly and gives everyone equal opportunities and pick his squad based on the player’s talent not on where they’re from or what they look like. It is his responsibility to pick a successful squad of the best players to win trophies and competitions. For example, Ferguson couldn’t refuse to pick someone from Brazil just because he doesn’t like them. Alex Ferguson doesn’t discriminate against anyone which is one of the reasons he has such a successful team, because he picks the best person for the job regardless. For example, his team comprises of people from all over the world including Anderson, Rafael and Fabio from Brazil, Ji Sung Park from Korea, Nemaja Vidic, Zoran Tosic and Adem Ljajic from Serbia and Patrice Evra from France.

Linford Christie – It is also one of his responsibilities to give equal opportunities to any athlete that he coaches. He can’t discriminate against anyone, he just has to coach any athlete that he thinks he can have a positive effect on and help become successful. At the moment he is coaching Katharine Merry and Darren Campbell which proves he doesn’t discriminate against gender or race, he coaches who he thinks is going to be successful.

Both of these coaches have a responsibility to give everyone equal opportunities by not discriminating against things such as age, gender or race. They have to treat everyone as equals and respect their rights.



Alex Ferguson – It is important for Alex Ferguson to have good communication skills because he has to be able to get his coaching points across effectively. Alex Ferguson is a successful coach because he has very good communication skills and uses all the different types, including verbal and non verbal which includes things like hand signals, body language, eye contact and facial expressions. He is often standing at the side of the pitch shouting instructions and using hand signals to further get the point across. This type of communication can be important in a successful team performance like when he wants players to swap positions or change formation during the game. He also has to have good one on one communication skills to give feedback and advice to players.

Linford Christie – It is important for him to have good communication skills so he can get coaching points across so the athletes understand it and it can help them improve their performance. Linford Christie has to have good one on one communication skills and the main type of communication he needs to use is verbal. An example of him using verbal communication with his athlete is when Darren Campbell came second in a race and Linford congratulated him, gave him some positive and negative feedback because he came second and maybe could have won but he explained that he was still proud of him and that he had done very well.

It is important for every coach to have good communication skills to be successful coaches in any sport. They have to be able to interact with their athletes to be able to get a good understanding of them and therefore the best ways to coach them to get the best out of their athletes. Linford Christie has to focus more on one to one communication with his athletes individually whereas Alex Ferguson is more concerned with team dynamics and making sure they are ok individually so the team performs well. Both coaches use their communication skills effectively to get the best out of their athletes and to keep a high standard of performance.


Alex Ferguson – It is vital for him to have good organisation skills in order for his athlete’s to be able to train and play the best that they can.

He has to have training sessions planned and set up before they are due to start and he has to employ people at the club that ensure everything to do with his athletes and their needs are sorted so all they have to worry about is training and winning games. For example, he has other coaches that help him with the sessions and people like a kit manager and other managers and administrators are employed to help things run smoothly. The coach has to be very well organised because he has many people working for him and they all have to be organised, where the players have to be and where has to be very well organised because Man United couldn’t turn up to a game half an hour late. Everything has to be on point when it comes to running one of the best football clubs in the world successfully.

Linford Christie – He has to have good organisation skills especially when it comes to training programs, training sessions and competitions. Sprinters have all different kinds of training that they need to do to be successful and they need to have good balance and fit into the training program so that the athlete gets enough rest and recovery and isn’t over trained because this would have a negative effect on their performance. They have upper and lower body strength sessions, Plyometrics and power training as well as the obvious sprint training. For this to work well the coach has to be very well organised and have all of the sessions planned in advance and the athlete has to be at events on time and well prepared.

Both of the coaches are similar because one of the skills that they have to possess to be successful sports coaches. They both have to plan and organise training sessions, they have to have good time management skills and make sure their players are where they need to be early so they have time to prepare for their competitions and perform their best. It is probably harder for Alex Ferguson because he has to organise an entire squad of players effectively.

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