Building relationships with your athletes...
We’ve all heard about ’8 Week Fitness Challenges’ run out of almost every commercial fitness centre, well, this is a ’8 Week Coaching Challenge’ designed to help improve your coaching.
At the end of each week we will post a Coaching Challenge for you to integrate into your coaching for the following week.
Attend any coaching course, or most conferences, and chances are you’ll learn plenty about the Technical and Tactical aspects of your sport.
There will probably be information on how to improve the Physical traits, and the Mental qualities might be addressed too – usually something along the lines of ‘goal setting’.
These four elements are often referred to as the ‘4 Pillars of Sports’: Technical, Tactical, Physical & Mental.
Wayne Goldsmith, one of the most interesting people in the sports world and speaker at the Junior Sport Science Symposium IV, argues that we should add ‘Culture’ to this list.
I believe there should be a 6th pillar – the ‘Emotional’ element of coaching.
This is how coaches build connections and strong, healthy relationships with their athletes.
Speak to any good coach and there is no doubt they will value the relationships with their athlete very highly. There is a good chance you'll eventually hear them say a form of the following mantra:
Athletes don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.
The irony of this is that every underperforming team, club or National Sports Organisation (NSO) focuses on their facilities or ‘structures’ or ‘pathways’ when they should be fostering the coach:athlete relationship.
This leads us to Coaching Challenge 4.
Coaching Challenge 4: At the end of every training week ask 3 athletes what their plans are for their time off. At the beginning of the following training week enquire about their activities.
Well, that’s the starting point.
Take an interest in their interests.
Show your athletes that they mean more to you than just X’s and O’s, set ‘n reps; that you actually care about them as a person.
- Make the conversations casual, not forced.
- Write notes if you have to, store them on your phone.
- Chat in an environment that makes the athlete comfortable – e.g. ask the shy athletes away from the group.
- If there is no opportunity at the first training session no worries, just ask later.
- Start with the athletes you have the least rapport with, those relationships are going to need the most work.
Who knows, these conversations might be the beginning of some of your favourite coaching moments.
If you felt the Coaching Challenge helped, or stimulated you in some way, please feel free to share this page or leave a comment below – we’d love to hear about your experience.
For more Coaching Challenges click here.