5)Rough Draft

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  • 7/30/2019 5)Rough Draft


    With this paper I wanted to show that football coaches make up a discourse

    community as well as smaller communities of individual coaching staffs. I wanted to

    show that the community fit Swales guidelines for what constitutes a discourse

    community. I think that my project will be effective because I have a pretty extensive

    knowledge of this subject already. I come from a family of coaches. My father coached

    football in college before having me and going to law school. He has collaborated with

    some of the games brightest minds especially offensivelyincluding current

    Washington State coach Mike Leach and current Georgia head coach Mark Richt. I have

    extensive access to coaching material and have coached my own team. I think at this

    point my project has some good ideas. There is a lot of information that I would like to

    dig deeper into, but am not quite sure how to do this. As I continue to research I think

    this will be clearer to me. Not very many coaches have called me back yet seeing as how

    it is in the middle of the season. I am expecting some calls by Sunday. Also I plan to

    meet with my instructor to clarify some things that came up in the completion of this

    draft. I think that this including more interviews and maybe digging deeper into the

    connection between coaching and discourse is something that I could do better on. As far

    as what I have learned I think that I have a new perspective on coaching. Writing and

    performing this study has shown me that coaching is a discourse community and that I

    am a part of one. This will help me in writing in school. I can compare writing to

    football in my headsomething I understand. I will better be able to reach audiences if I

    just analyze the discourse community I am writing to. This is something this project has

    taught me.

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    As people we are all involved in some kind of group or area of interest. Have we

    ever stopped to wonder what makes up these groupswhat they are called or what they

    bring to others within different areas of interest? These groups are called discourse

    communities among scholars. John Swales says a discourse community is [A

    community] made up of individuals who share a broadly agreed upon set of public goals,

    has mechanisms of intercommunication among its members, uses its participatory

    mechanisms primarily to provide information and feedback, has and uses one or more

    genres that help the group achieve its shared goals, has acquired some specific lexis, and

    has a reasonable ratio of novices and experts. A community I am involved in is a

    community of football coaches. This discourse community meets all the requirements

    and after an ethnographic study this fact is evident.

    A definition of what a discourse community is has already been stated by

    Swales. Breaking it down again we see that there is a six part criteria for the make up of

    a community. Taking a close look at the second partparticipatory mechanismsan

    important aspect of communities is seen from a member perspective. Geein his article

    enforces this aspect. The members of any given community need to be active

    participants in order for the community to function as well as to retain

    membership. Once membership is established Wardle examines what group membership

    naturally brings upon inside of a communityidentity and authority. Another important

    view would be that of Devitt and Bawarshi. Language and the interpretation of language

    by members in a community and those outside of a community is different. Communities

    exist to portray information to members in the same community, but also to other

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    communities. Understanding the implications of experts and novices is important. It

    means a lot for the lexis that make up discourse communities.

    All of these authors explain discourse communities and the importance of their

    parts. The implication of language and the way it is portrayed is also

    explained. Essentially discourse communities are complex units that are constantly

    processing and producing information.

    As I explained earlier I am a part of a discourse community of coaches. We share

    the things that constitute such a community. Firstlylooking at Swales guidelineswe

    see coaches are individuals who share a broadly agreed upon set of public goals. In my

    interview with Lane Coffina high school coach at Marsh Valley Idahohe confirmed

    this idea. When asked the question do coaches share a broadly agreed upon set of public

    goals? Lane answered, Of course they do. Every coach on my staff and others like my

    staff put in countless hours on top of their already busy schedules to win games. There is

    no point to coaching if you do not win and embark on a process that places winning as a

    priority. This sort of attitude is consistent with my own staff of coaches. On my eighth

    grade pop warner team my coaches and I push the kids every week to win. The game of

    football is competitive. The point is to win. If it was not then score would not be kept.

    We as a group of coaches game plan to win every week. That is our goal. This goal is

    shared by coaching staffs everywhere at all levels.

    Progressing down the list of guidelines it is evident that coaching staffs have

    mechanisms primarily to provide information and feedback. There are countless

    conventions held every year to swap secrets and game planning tips. There are book and

    video series such as Coaches Choice that give coaches advice and insight into certain

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    schemes and strategies. Also coachesgenerally starting from the high school level on

    exchange game tape of each other on a week-to-week basis. This sort of activity is done

    so that other coaches can study opposing teams. Play calling tendencies are charted and

    information on the opponent is recorded so that play calling and game planning can be

    done in an organized and prepared manner. Between books, seminars, movies, and

    actually exchanging film of games there are obviously mechanisms by which coaches

    provide information and feedback to each other.

    Moving forward there are multiple genres that help coaches achieve their shared

    goals. We can see this through the multiple mechanisms that are used to distribute

    information. All of the different genresfilm, seminars, meetings, etc.aid in the

    ultimate goal of winning. There is no way that the game of football could be played at a

    high level of organization without these different modes of help. By studying the

    opponent and understanding multiple concepts it is evident that winning becomes easier.

    Playing into what the last two elements of this discourse community have already

    shown is the development of a common lexis. There is certain terminology such as

    position names and conceptual terms that make this element manifest. Only coaches

    familiar with the Nick Saban and Bill Bellicheck defenses will understand the position

    Starand Money as well as the type of attributes a player has to have to fit that role.

    Another example could be that certain teams run a 3-4 defense as opposed to a 4-3

    defense or a 3-3-5 defense. There are breakdowns inside of each defense that make

    contribute to the style. The verbage that make up a play call might be something like,

    ringo right knight front burnman cover 0. This was a common concept that was used at

    my high school that was known by all of the coaches. My coaching staff borrowed it and

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    taught it to our eighth graders. Some of these words and ideas are complex, but they are

    understood by those inside of the discourse community. One last example could be the

    term cover 4. Every coach in America is familiar with this term and others like it.

    There is obviously an evident language that is common among coaching communities.

    Not every coach is an expert. There are coaches that are professionals and there

    are coaches that volunteer their time to coach their sons. There are men who get paid

    millions of dollars and those that work for free. There is definitely a reasonable ratio of

    novices and experts. Sort of tying into what was mentioned with the language and

    lexicon that coaches havethe complexity and overall amount of content of the schemes

    and game overall depends on the level of coach. An example would be me compared to a

    man like Nick Saban. I am young and do not have much experience coaching. I come

    from a coaching background, but do not have any years coaching in college or really even

    at the high school level. I am definitely a novice. Coach Saban is a three time national

    champion at the college level. He has coached the Miami Dolphins in the NFL and has

    also coached multiple college teams including Michigan State, Louisiana State, and

    Alabama. The man conducts multiple seminars a year for coaches at all levels and many

    people come to hear what he has to say. He has orchestrated one of the statistically

    greatest defensive programs in the nations history, and he continually coaches his team to

    top five finishes year in and year out. This man is a professional and is one of the best

    that there is.

    This is a similar comparison to many that could be made. There are many youth

    football coaches just as there are many college coaches. The doors are always opening

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    and closing on coaching opportunities and many coaches enter and leave the professional

    and novice ranks every year.

    Lastly looking through the guidelines that make up a discourse community set by

    Swales it is seen that there is a threshold level of members. It can be said that the

    common phrase to many hands spoils the pot holds true for many staffs. The number is

    different for each staff, but many staffs are limited to at least a head coach, an assistant

    coach, an offensive and defensive coordinators, and two or three position specific

    coaches. Many college and professional organizations have more coaches than this but

    generally do not exceed 12 coaches. NCAA Article 11: Conduct and Employment of

    Athletics Personnel: Section 11.7.2 Football Bowl Subdivision states that, there shall be

    a limit of one head coach, nine assistant coaches and two graduate assistant coaches who

    may be employed by an institution in bowl subdivision football. This is generally true at

    every level except for the youth football level. My eighth grade team caps the number of

    coaches on our staff at 5. We do not have very many players and do not want or need

    very many coaches. We have one head coachmeand four other assistants all in

    charge of their own responsibilities.

    This data was found through extensive interviews of coaches at the high school

    and youth football levels as well as from firsthand knowledge of the game myself. I

    asked coaches how they felt coaching fit into a discourse community after describing to

    them what a discourse community was as well as prepping the coaches on Swales

    guidelines. After sifting through the interviews I also looked at books and websites for

    examples and information that aided in the production of my research. By looking at all

    of the data that I found it is evident that football coaches belong to a discourse

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    community. They also belong to smaller discourse communities within the initial

    community. These smaller communities would be the coaching staffs themselves as

    opposed to the large group being made up of every coach.

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    Interview Questions:

    Coach Lane CoffinCoach Coffin is a coach at Marsh Valley High School in Moscow,

    Idaho. Coach Coffin has won state championships and has also coached with my father.

    He has been coaching for many years and has a son who is now on his staff.

    How does your community of coaches fit the six guidelines presented by John Swales?

    Well we want to win. We focus a lot on the process of winning and whatit takes to be a winner. We share film and go to seminars. I dont really

    understand what you are saying about the genres. We definitely have a

    specific language and lexicon. We have new coaches and more

    experienced coaches. That plays into novices and experts. We also have a

    threshold cap of 9 coaches.

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