Brief on the role of the Shadow Coach:
To develop up-and-coming coaching talent at the highest level through exposure to the work that goes into
preparing an SA Schools Team for WSDC and other championships.
Coaching at an international level is hugely different from coaching at a local or provincial level. Things like
psychological coaching, style, team dynamics and strategic calls are far more important than they ever are on
the South African scene, and anyone who hasn’t been to WSDC simply isn’t aware of this and may not know
quite how to deal with it. It is also just much more intensive than any other coaching – you’re with the team
24/7 for over two weeks at a stretch, doing insane amounts of debating and having to provide emotional
support to a group of teenagers under pressure.
The Role of Shadow Coach:
The shadow coach should not simply be a silent fly on the wall. S/he must be able to actively contribute to the
coaching process through giving feedback to speakers, discussing training and strategy ideas with the head
coach, being a sounding board, etc. The discussions between National and shadow coach will take place
mostly in private, i.e. out of view from the speakers. The shadow coach must be a sharp debater and a good
coach, albeit one who is inexperienced at coaching the highest levels of debating and who needs some
Must take an interest in training – discuss coaching methodology and techniques with the head coach, learn
and listen. The shadow coach must be confident enough to indicate where he/she disagrees with the National
Coach, but also aware that the strategy chosen for coaching the National team is the National Coach’s
The shadow coach will attend all tournaments with the team, as far as is practicably possible.
The Responsibilities of Head Coach towards Shadow Coach:
Should actively work to develop the coaching abilities and insights of the shadow coach through discussing
coaching issues with them.
The shadow coach should become an integral part of the team-coach machine. The head coach must make
the shadow coach feel included.
When seeking funding for tournaments, the head coach must seek funding for the shadow coach as well as
Tristan von Zahn
083 293 0880