A Systematic Observation Study of the Teaching Behaviors of an Expert Basketball Coach

in The Sport Psychologist
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  • 1 California State University, Fresno
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A systematic observation analysis was performed on Fresno State men’s basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian over the course of an entire season. Based on Tharp and Gallimore’s (1976) work and recent research on expert coaches’ training techniques (Côté et al., 1995; Durand-Bush, 1996), the Revised Coaching Behavior Recording Form was created to observe and record Tarkanian’s teaching behaviors and verbal cues. Results showed that tactical instructions was the most frequently occurring variable, representing 29% of the coded behaviors. This behavior was 13% higher than the second highest variable, hustles (16%). Following these two categories were technical instruction (13.9%), praise\encouragement (13.6%), general instructions (12%), scolds (6%), and six other categories with percentages less than 3%. This means that almost one-third of Coach Tarkanian’s practice behaviors relate to teaching offensive and defensive strategies to his team. This differs from the practice sessions of beginner- and intermediate-level coaches, who often focus on teaching fundamental skills to their athletes. A complete description of all 12 categories are provided along with implications for coaches of all levels.

Gordon A. Bloom, Rebecca Crumpton, and Jenise E. Anderson are with the Department of Kinesiology at California State University, Fresno, 5275 N. Campus Dr., M/S #28, Fresno, CA 93740-8018.

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