Snow White and the Seven Coaches.

“Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” is a famous 1937 American animated film produced by Walt Disney based on the German fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm.

You may recall the names of the characters: Doc, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, Bashful, Sneezy, and Dopey.

Each character had a different personality and a unique relationship with Snow White.

The relationship between Ringette coach and ringette player is no different.

A coach’s personality and leadership style influences the team and the whole environment.

Which of the Seven Dwarfs is best suited for coaching ringette? Doc or Dopey? Grumpy or Sleepy? Happy or Bashful?

In coaching, we often see three main leadership styles:

  • autocratic (do as I say) – “Doc and Grumpy”,
  • democratic (involve the athletes in decision making) – “Happy and Bashful“ and
  • laissez faire (leave them alone) – “Sleepy and Dopey”.

Coaches may need different coaching styles depending on the situation.

There will be situations when it makes sense to be more direct, and other circumstances that require sharing and discovery. Yet, other times, it may be best to let the players  and the team evolve and discover at a pace consistent with its own goals and abilities.

Here are some tips for coaching style, inspired by Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs:

When to be “Doc

  • when describing a drill on the ice, keep the instructions to a minimum – less than 60 seconds;
  • when it is a time out in a game, and a tactic is needed, be clear on what you want to say – you won’t have much time;
  • take charge of an emergency situations to implement first aid;
  • analyzing individual or team performance to address a skill or tactical problems.

When to be “Grumpy

  • players refuse to get on the ice on time, or fool around and shoot rings at their team mates;
  • be clear on discipline and let the players know you mean business and that consequences will be enforced.

When to be “Happy

  • players are performing well in a game or practice and they are doing what the coaches have asked of them – recognize and celebrate good behavior; show your enthusiasm for the sport and for their fine efforts;
  • get one of the players who has performed a drill well to showcase her skills while her team mates watch and appreciate her performance, focus and effort.

When to be “Sleepy

  • when the coach wants to delegate the work load to players and coaches;
  • Sleepy” is often bored – hence the eyes closed and the daydream state – change your drills, change your lines or tactics – get your team out of the boring state it may  occupy;
  • get coaches to help with stats and video;
  • gets players and parents to organize team meetings.

When to be “Bashful

  • as the coach, you may not have all the answers;
  • let players and coaches know that you are looking for suggestions on how to address agreed upon team problems;
  • use active listening language, such as “what I am hearing you say is… “, and, “correct me if I am wrong, but… “;
  • be respectful of the refs – ask for clarification, don’t be the big coach in charge (Grumpy) and get thrown out of the game.

When to be “Sneezy

  • Sneezies take pride in loyalty, faithfulness, and dependability;
  • remind athletes of the commitment required to training and striving to improve – as an athlete and as a team.

When to be “Dopey

  • being Dopey means being flexible and having a sense of humor which can be useful to reduce tense competitive situations;
  • Dopey is resourceful and creative;
  • don’t hesitate to take an “out of the box” approach to solving a ringette team-related problem.

What Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs coaching personality are you?

Can you be more than one Dwarf personality?

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