Role Framing and Impression Management

Following on from the previous blog, I thought it would be good to consider the ways in which a coach communicates with their players and how it appears to others, in relation to their professional role and the impression that this gives off. In my opinion these two areas consider the different environments a coach may be in and how people may view them. For example, as previously mentioned in the last post, the more animated managers during a game wouldn’t act like that at a children’s match or in a press conference and this is down to them considering the climate and the ‘impression’ this gives of them.

Firstly, I am going to explore role framing and how it is applied. This theory looks at how individuals, in specific social positions, are perceived to act and then how they expect other individuals to act (Hindin, 2007). In youth sport or grass roots, the coach has to adopt many different roles, when in training or on game days. These roles may involve being a coach, medic or playing the role of a parent in some circumstances, so it is vital for the individual to know which persona to switch into. This can work well in these climates as gaining results are not as important as they are in professional sports, hence why these teams have different people to carry out different jobs. This is due to ‘role retreat’ and this explores the idea that one person will not be able to commit one hundred percent to a role for a number of reasons, some of which being; time restraints, role preference and then overload (Millslagle and Morley, 2004).

When considering impression management, which is said to be the ‘goal directed task of controlling or regulating information, in order to influence the impressions formed by an audience’ it is vital that a coach or practitioner looks the part (Schlenker, 2000). There are many aspects which instigate an individuals impression on another, some of which are; their appearance, manners, voice/tone and then on a more personal basis the things they like or dislike. With regards to the appearance, it could be both down to how they wear their clothes and then also how they look after themselves.

However, there are some issues with this. As stated in the previous blog about communication, impressions can be made based on how animated a coach may be from the side of a pitch, rather than the actual quality of the information they are delivering. Some may appear to be shouting in aggressive tones but this doesn’t always mean it is negative feedback. A study conducted on a group of football coaches throughout different age groups showed how each manager of a team appeared on the touchline (Chesterfield et al., 2010). A manager that appeared in the study suggested that he chose to act like the rest of the coaches, so he didn’t appear to be different and risk losing his job. Where another manager said that he would shout even if there was no importance to the message, he just wanted people to see that he was ‘coaching and correcting a player.’ This helps draw conclusions on beliefs that people feel a need to act in certain ways in order to not be different rather than having their own styles.

For me in analysis, the impression you give out to players would be different to the manager or coaches, simply because of the nature of the information you are delivering. I believe that by giving a good impression to players and staff, will enable them to accept your opinion and knowledge in a better way. If you were to deliver presentations whilst looking unclean and with poor manners, the team are more likely to be disengaged, where as if you appeared presentable and use professional language, the view of the analyst will be accepted and the presentation or feedback will be more engaging. It is important that you show clear understanding of how to improve the athlete and that you can deliver the same message as the coaching team based upon your observations (Carling, 2007). Some players have a negative impression on analysts, and do not feel they are as knowledgable as some coaches in the sport. This is because in some sports the analyst simply just films and codes the game, and does not get involved in team meetings, as the footage is sent to the coach, for them to make judgments on. Therefore the analyst is neglected from the coaching process and this would have an impact on the impression from a player, in the terms of them not being able to see the knowledge that can be given to them.

Reference List

Chesterfield, G., Potrac, P. and Jones, R., 2010. ‘Studentship’and ‘impression management’in an advanced soccer coach education award. Sport, Education and Society15(3), pp.299-314.

Hindin, M.J., 2007. Role theory. The Blackwell encyclopedia of sociology.

Millslagle, D. and Morley, L., 2004. Investigation of role retreatism in the teacher/coach. The Physical Educator61(3).

Schlenker, B.R. and Pontari, B.A., 2000. The strategic control of information: Impression management and self-presentation in daily life.

Wright, C., Carling, C. and Collins, D., 2014. The wider context of performance analysis and it application in the football coaching process. International Journal of Performance Analysis in Sport14(3), pp.709-733.

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