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Are you an inside out coach?

Are you an “Inside Out” coach? How the Disney Pixar movie can influence your coaching and awareness of your players through change

I have a confession – I love a great cartoon. From the Lego Movie, and old classics like the Lion King, to my all-time favourites the Toy Story trilogy, I love the creativity and thought that goes into bringing these movies to life, through picture and colour, the characters and the environments through storytelling and song.

As I am sure most families did at some point over the summer, we visited the cinema to watch a film and the unanimous choice was Disney Pixar’s latest offering ‘Inside Out’.

In the avoidance of plot spoilers, the premise of the film is based around a young girl and the emotions associated with everyday life - Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Fear and Anger. The emotions are characters that live in her mind (which everyone has but are all represented slightly differently), where they influence her actions and memories through a control panel (Headquarters). Part of their role is to store her new memories at the end of each day and ensure the core memories are kept to develop a unique personality based on life experiences. The emotion characters also act as memory recall, to influence life, develop thought and link experiences together. Whilst Joy is the dominating factor, it is key to have a balance of the emotions to influence development.

The story follows the family moving cities due to a work relocation and how the circumstances and the attached emotions can effect a change in people's outlook, personality and how they cope with them. The imbalance of the influence of emotions can be seen through the changing relationships of the family, new and old friends, and new environments such as school and sports clubs.

By the end of the film, her emotions now work together with a greater understanding of the need for all, to guide her through the changes to through a more complex life, using core memories to form new memories and new experiences.

So now you don’t need to see the film (!), what does this mean for coaching?

  • As coaches, we are a key factor in the lives of the people who come to our sessions, and can often be a constant in times of change
  • Do you know your players, and the reasons they come to (and don’t come to) the sessions?
  • Sport contains all the key emotions within the film – Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Fear and Anger – and these can often be crammed into a season, a competition or even a session itself
  • Our coaching may bring different emotions to the fore, and in complex environments such as ours, you may have all of them, at different levels, in different people, at different times
  • Coaching is a team sport – you as the coach, the players/performers, parents, siblings, friends, opposition – communication and understanding is vital in creating a balance for learning and memories to take place.
  • The creation of positive memories and experiences in sport is vital to ensure long term participation, from improving ability to ensuring people come back every week.

Nobody said coaching was easy, and you are dealing with people who are players, and players who are people. There are challenges ahead every day, and to maintain a balance of the emotions creates string bonds and memories.

Have fun – and don’t forget to look from the Inside Out….

Jon Woodward is a Coach Education Advisor at sports coach UK. He is a parent, coach and coach educator fulfilling various roles with various sports – and can be found tweeting ( @JonWoodward74) and blogging about coaching and life.