A coach plays an integral role in every team sport, and the question as to whether or not coaching style can influence injury rates is one that is often posed. Now, new research has highlighted just how certain types of leadership can negatively impact a player’s wellbeing, and their health, leaving them more prone to injury.
Coaching styles differ across the globe and with rugby having been plagued by injuries, the spotlight is shining brightly on coaches and the things they can do to avoid injury.
Leadership leading to injury
In a study conducted by Ekstrand et al. in 2017, the connection between leadership styles and injuries was made clear. Those leaders who push too hard, expect too much or do not work within the parameters of a player’s limits increased the injury rate, whereas those that had a more holistic approach brought it down.
Coaches that pushed players beyond their boundaries put them at physical risk, and this often led to injury, and players who were pushed too hard mentally also suffered the effects, and were ill more often. Stress can exacerbate the chance of injury, and coaches that put players under stress were running the risk of increasing muscle tension and reducing motor coordination. This meant that not only were players more likely to be injured, but their performance would be compromised too.
A balanced approach
Coaches that had a good overall leadership style that encouraged and worked consistently with players on both their strong and weak points seemed to fare better in the research. Those that put players through their paces, using sport drill videos such as those found at https://www.sportplan.net/, and who focused on proper warm ups and cool downs, had teams that were less prone to injury.
Additionally, coaches that were far more focused on the psychological side of the game also seemed to have less injuries, as players were happier and knew that their wellbeing was put first.
Coaches have a responsibility to their players, and to lead them well in all areas, not to stress them out or to push them in an unhealthy way. The body needs balance and should not be forced to go beyond its limits, and many sports injuries occur due to coaches trying to get too much out of those who just have no more to give.