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Coach effectiveness

Of the many relationships that exist in sport – the coach-athlete relationship is especially crucial.

Many coaches still languish in thinking that their responsibility is just to develop the athlete’s physical and technical skills.

The modern coach needs to go further (as they are often a care giver in youth sports), with techniques that motivate, provide security, self-esteem, emotional support and satisfaction from their sport.

Sophia Jowett’s pivotal work here is well worth looking up – exploring the deleterious effects of poor relationships, damaging relationships and of course, positive relationships.

Sophia proposes that the athlete-coach relationship should be at the heart of coaching effectiveness.

As a sports and performance support scientist what are you doing today to support the coach to create this effect?

Here are some suggestions;

  • Ask the coach what they’re focused on today and how you can help them achieve this – this allows them to focus not just on the detail but on the environment
  • Ask what behaviours they expect from you to support athlete personal development. This allows you to self-manage negative behaviours and promote positive ones. Don’t forget you’re a role model too
  • Sense the mood – before you get into delivering the analysis, physiology, S&C work etc, get your head up and sense how people are. Are they angry, hopeful, tired, excited, blunt, purposeful, to name a few behaviours you might see? Adapt how you deliver to support, challenge or counter moods and behaviours so that the environment is more consistent for the performer.