Coaching Advice: Are You Creating Robots, or Building Relationships?

Fear of consequences influences an athletes' behaviour

Coaching Advice

We’ve often said that any training plan should focus on building positive relationships, through communication, trust, and engagement.

In a previous coaching advice blog post, we talked about how great student-coach relationships do not happen organically. As with any other kind of relationship, they develop over time and often require work to make them great.

A love for their sport is what drives many coaches, along with valuing the time they spend with their young, budding athletes. Why? Because they discover coaching children is fun! As the years go by, many fond memories are linked to times of happiness and laughter with these athletes, and not just when they have achieved something great or won medals.

This is why it can be hard to understand why some coaches choose to develop a training plan which sees their athletes train like robots. It may not be a deliberate act but is often inevitable under the coaching regime and conditions their training plan provides.

Here is our coaching advice…

Coaching Advice: Helping Athletes “Be More Confident”

How good are you at giving your students feedback?

Coaching Advice

It may sound like a strange question, but when it comes to coaching, this is something I think about often…

…helping athletes “be more confident.”

On its own, telling an athlete to be more confident is not going to magically flick a switch which will make them immediately feel competent enough to perform skills they previously struggled with.

As a form of feedback, “be more confident” is useless! Outlined below, I’ll give some coaching advice to remedy this.

Tackling a Lack of Self-Belief

By definition, confidence (or self-confidence in this case) is ‘belief in oneself and one’s powers or abilities.’ Ask an athlete to perform a skill they lack self-belief in, and their chances of performing it with ‘confidence’ are limited.

Could confidence be something someone could fake? Could it be something they can simply ‘switch on’ when asked?

No.

Coaching Advice: What Does Great Coaching Look Like?

Creating a positive working environment is a great motivator for both athletes and coaches alike.

Coaching Advice

In one of our recent coaching advice posts, we discussed the importance of coaching the mindset, not just technique. Closely aligned with this is the importance of developing a strong coach-athlete relationship.

Creating a positive working environment is a great motivator for both athletes and coaches alike. As our previous post suggested, coaches who approach training through military style ‘shout and command’ tactics will quickly find their students demoralised and motivated only by a fear of failure.

Let’s look at this from another perspective.

Imagine sitting in your workplace each day, with your boss shouting at you for the entire day? How long could you last? How long before your motivation wanes and resentment towards your employer builds?

In such an environment it doesn’t take long before your performance levels drop as your self-esteem hits rock bottom. The same is true in a coaching relationship.

Case Study: Wise Players Choose Wisewood

The pride of Sheffield is a marker for football clubs across the UK

Wisewood Football Club

There’s a special football club born on seven hills with an ethos as strong as the finest Sheffield Steel. Wisewood is a source of great local pride, helping youngsters learn what being part of a team is all about. It helps to shape members’ character whilst being extremely well disciplined and inspiring. For anyone looking to start their own club, this is the beacon to follow. The club can boast more than 300 male and female players ranging from ages 7 – 18, and have two disability teams involving players from 16 to 64. Brian Smith founded the club in 1988, and he’s still an integral part of the setup, having seen steady growth over the years.

FA Chartered Club

Wisewood is a Registered FA Chartered Standard Community Club playing in the Sheffield and District Junior Leagues, Sheffield and Hallamshire Girls County League, and DB Bud Evans League. This visionary club has two main sites near to each other, though a local school pitch can be added to the five in regular use.

Why Coaching Is About Mindset, Not Just Technique

Coaches have a responsibility to look after their athletes' mental well-being, not just their physical well-being

 

coaching

When you think about ethical coaching, what values and philosophies do you attach to it? Many coaches will have their own ideas about what it should look like, along with a number of irritations firmly placed under the umbrella of ‘bad coaching practice.’

New coaches often begin filled with a sense of power and authority over the young athletes they are coaching. If there is one thing Spiderman taught us it is that “with great power, comes great responsibility.”

This responsibility doesn’t just apply to the physical aspects of coaching, but emotional well-being too.

Coaching Advice: Challenging the Weakest Link Theory

From Our Resident International Coach, Nick Ruddock

Membership Management Software

There are many things in this life that seem to exist only to annoy us – the proverbial lost sock, never being able to find a pen when you want one and packaging rage (yes, apparently that is a thing)! In the context of coaching, however, nothing upsets us more than coaches talking badly about their students and others they work with. This is especially upsetting when said coach knows nothing of the individual’s personal story and struggles.

Such behaviour can often be seen as insecurity on the part of the coach. Telling other coaches and colleagues about a ‘difficult’ student and discussing why they may be underperforming, somehow makes them feel more comfortable.

The reality is different – all athletes and coaches will have their struggles. Regardless of who we are, we all have a story, we are all facing different challenges on a daily basis, and more importantly, none of us are perfect.

Performance sport is never easy – that’s what makes it so attractive.

Progress Is Relative When It Comes To Coaching

Even the best coaches will have been down this road, feeling these same insecurities and having these same conversations with their peers.

Few will disagree that coaching in a club environment is a steep learning curve. But it is the way you approach it that will help you be the coach that makes a difference – becoming the coach that enjoys sharing in a student’s struggles and helping them overcome them.

Progress should be seen as relative to the ability of the athlete with the end goals set accordingly: international representation may be out of the question but qualifying for national competitions would be achievable.

You’re Only As Strong As Your Weakest Link

How do you determine your weakest link? Most would say it is the pupil with the lowest level of ability, the one deemed to have the least talent for the sport. Yet if we flip this and consider that that person may have overcome significant personal challenges just to train or even compete, then you should consider them your strongest link.

As a coach, your role is to help your pupils achieve their full potential, not for them to fulfil your own coaching aspirations. To make significant progress after overcoming adversity and battling the odds should surely be seen as a triumph.

Being The Best We Know How To Be

It’s a human trait to be the best we know how to be. Whether we are athletes or bricklayers, we are never intentionally bad at what we do. All of us want to improve and progress at some level.

Performances can go disastrously wrong. athletes of all ages and skill levels will find some skills harder to learn than others. This means performances may lack the quality you had hoped for. It is these challenging moments that need to be accepted as part of the journey, not gossiped about behind the scenes with colleagues.

Remember, the quality of the performance is not always a reflection of the quality of your coaching. It IS coaching.

Being a coach means your first priority is to give support to your students through times of adversity, overcome hurdles and deal with the challenges the sport throws their way. This support is key to forming a good relationship.

Not every budding athlete will make it to the Olympics. The sooner coaches accept this, the sooner they will enjoy the process of teaching and the achievements made at all levels. Every pupil will face challenges, it is just part of the journey you go on.

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Here at Pay Subs Online, we want to help you succeed with your coaching by spending less time on administration and more time coaching the athletes in your charge. To help you do this, we’ve created a free and incredibly handy PDF on ‘Which Admin Tasks Can Be Done Quicker and Easier Online‘ – to download it for free, click here!

Contributor – Nick Ruddock, Pay Subs Online’s resident coaching expert and ex GB National Coach.

The RFL Parents Handbook

Offering the latest advice on a whole range of important issues.

RFL Parents Handbook

The popularity of Rugby League in the UK continues to soar as more and more people enjoy the modern game. The Super League, of course, is leading the way with competition between clubs getting more intense with each passing season. As a result, the grassroots are getting stronger enabling youngsters to get a feel for the sport at a very young age. In truth, Junior Rugby League is blossoming, paving the way not only for the stars of the future but also for the introduction of vital life skills.

Every well-known club now has a community department, charged with involving people of all ages in a range of fantastic events aimed at bringing individuals together. However, it’s the children who stand to benefit most from the games’ infrastructure. Seeing as we live in a more demanding world where the safety of youngsters is paramount, a special handbook aimed at all parents and guardians has been produced. This handbook covers children and young people playing Club Rugby League at all levels – from Primary to the Academy level upwards.

Successful Wimbledon, Successful Growth in Tennis

How arguably the greatest Tennis Championship in the world helps to promote a growth in Tennis

growth in tennis

It doesn’t matter what initiatives you bring into any level of sport, in any country, there is one thing that will always have a bigger impact than anything that can be put together by governing sporting bodies – the competitions themselves.

Tennis is no different and the LTA has introduced countless initiatives which have seen a rise in participation levels across the board – BUT – there is something which trumps these every year in the growth of tennis. The Wimbledon Championships (especially, when British players perform well and go far in the competition).

So, this year, we have to thank Andy Murray (yet again!) and Johanna Konta for doing so well in this year’s Championships in SW19. The fact that the pair also made history by becoming the first British pair to get through to the Semi-Finals since 1973 was also something which helped to spur on enthusiasm for the sport unsurprisingly.

Updates to our Membership Software, October 2017

Improvements and Optimisation

Whilst you have been working hard to maintain your organisation run’s smoothly, we have been doing the same behind the scenes at Pay Subs Online to add some new swanky features to our membership software (many of which were requested by you and we have delivered!) Here’s what we have added;

Mobile responsive member login pages

You asked for it – you got it!  The members’ online account is now mobile ‘responsive’, making navigation when accessed via a mobile phone more user-friendly.  Here’s how it looks:

Members detail page (this is where they keep their info up-to-date)

Young Lions’ Success

Looking Ahead to a Bright Future

Young Lions' Success

As any long-term England supporter is painfully aware, following the national side in major tournaments is never a pleasurable experience. An inability to make it out the group in Brazil three years ago was followed up by that infamous afternoon in Nice last summer where a nation the size of Cardiff sent us packing. Even the relatively smooth qualification for Russia 2018 was uninspiring – suffice to say, there is an inherent gloom that surrounds the England national football team.

But there shouldn’t be. Despite the unwanted talent of the senior team to stumble from one disaster to the next, England youth teams have dazzled all year. Last night England reached the final of the U17 World Cup in India, beating pre-tournament favourites Brazil 3-1 in the semi-final thanks to the second hattrick in as many matches from Rhian Brewster. Chile, Mexico, Iraq, Japan and the USA have all been dispatched by a bold England side that has averaged three goals a game. They seek revenge in the final on a Spanish team that beat them (on penalties, of course) in the final of the European championships earlier this year in Croatia. England boasted six of the eleven players featured in the ‘Team of the Tournament’ there, along with player of the tournament, Jadon Sancho.