It’s been a busy month for APA. September is traditionally the busiest month for me as I welcome back many young athletes into our programme, who have been away over the summer competing and on vacations.
This time of year is also a busy time of year for coach mentoring. I offer a formal coach mentoring scheme, (six month mentoring programme, which includes 20 hours of personal mentoring and your Level 2 Certificate in Strength & Conditioning coaching qualification).
But I also take on several interns every September for a 1 year contract- with interns committing to volunteering 10 hours of their coaching time on the programme. I meet with them every week to discuss the APA philosophy, the syllabuses they are following and give them feedback on how they are getting on.
It never fails to amaze me how much we are able improve their coaching skills in such a short time- I can tell you we are not talking about what they are coaching in this month. We are talking about how to coach- how to deliver a great session.
It’s often said, ”It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” when trying to get into this industry. I would add, ”It’s not what you know it’s how you coach it.”
In the month of September the key focus has been on ‘How to Communicate effectively as a Coach.’
Create the Environment
In a previous blog on APA Philosophy I discuss how Bill Sweetenham asks potential try outs to his squads, how committed they are and what they are going to add to his current squad in terms of work ethic and so on.
There is no doubt that when you are in the good position of being able to select people you are more likely to be able to recruit people who have the right values and work ethic. In reality even if they do, we as humans still need to be in a nurturing environment which will help us get the best out of our talent level. This requires great coaching!
Your role is to create an environment which will help the athletes to get into the optimum performance state. Your job is to give them the info to help them perform but it is not your job to worry about their response being the one you are after. What I mean by this is- the athlete has to get themselves in the optimum performance state- if they can’t (because they can’t calm down or pump themselves up despite your feedback) then they don’t carry on in the session. Your job is to set the expectations and give them feedback on their efforts to meet them.
Managing the athletes in your coaching session is a lot like being the conductor of an orchestra.
This is one of the great skills of a coach- being able to recognise what state of mind their athletes are in and coach accordingly. I find that the best coaches know when to dial up the energy to get the athletes more fired up for the session and also when to use questions to challenge their athletes, and use discipline (if necessary) to calm them down and get them to focus on their current attitude. But for an inexperienced coach it can be really challenging to stand in front of their group of athletes and step into the role of the conductor. Today’s blog looks at how we use communication to create this optimum performance state.