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Posted 06/03/2022 in Category 1 by DAVID CHARLTON

Sport Coach Development: Helping Athletes Perform Better by Adapting How You Communication

In this solo episode I share some ideas for sport coaches so that they help develop mental strength in their athletes and teams.  The methods I discuss are in contrast to what some people often consider as the way to develop Mental Strength or Mental Toughness by creating fear cultures, pushing athletes to their limits and dishing out punishments.  I’m hopeful this episode will destroy that particular myth where I dig into the importance of social support and the different types of social support you can offer your athletes.  Teachers and parents will likely find the insights and case studies helpful too.

Key Learning Points

  • As a Sports Psychologist we are often tasked with “fixing” problems that athletes may be experiencing.   These problems can be influenced by genetics, the athletes home environment, personality traits, value clashes, parenting, off pitch or course issues, the club or organisations culture.  The problems can also be influenced hugely by coaches.
  • A coach’s role is multifaceted and complex as are the individuals they work with.
  • The benefits of good communication and excellent social support for athletes include fewer burnout symptoms, improved sporting performance, better transitions from junior to adult sport and reduced anxiety.
  • Different types of social support include: listening support, emotional support. emotional challenge, reality confirmation support, task appreciation support and task challenge support.
  • Consider the age and the experience of the athlete when deciding how much social support you will provide as a coach.  Research tells us that younger and less experienced athletes may require more social support from their coach than the older and more experienced athletes.   
  • As a coach you may also want to consider the skill level of the athlete.  Elite athletes are likely to need different social support strategies than recreational athletes.  

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Relevant Podcast Episodes

Ep039: John Fletcher – How to Develop Fearless Athletes

Ep041: Paul McGee – How to Develop Interpersonal Confidence

Ep064: Edu Rubio – How to Support Young Footballers

Ep065: Dr Amy Izycky – Encouraging Mentally Healthy Cultures in Sport

Ep066: Marilyn Okoro – Mental Health and Resilience: Lessons from an Olympic Medalist

Ep105: Hannah Bromley – Overcoming Psychological Challenges in Professional Women’s Football

Relevant Blogs and Resources

Case Study: Supporting a Young Footballer to Overcome His Fears

Blog – 5 Coaching Tips To Develop Mentally Tough Footballers

Blog – Coach Development Helping Athletes Overcome Fear Of Failure

Blog – Mental Health Guidance For Coaches When Supporting Athletes

Blog – Make Better Decisions To Help Your Sport Performance

Blog – 5 Ways To Create A Psychological Safe Sporting Environment

Blog – 3 Tips To Deal With Bullying In Sport


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