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UK Coaching Team
Talent and Performance Rapport Building and Communicating

Frank Dick: How Olympic Gold Medals are Made, Part 3 – Knowing Your People

In this exclusive UK Coaching series counting down to the start of the Tokyo Olympics, Frank Dick OBE draws on his vast experience as one of the country’s most pre-eminent sports coaches to offer a masterclass in how to maximise athletic potential and support athletes to achieve peak performance at the critical moment. In this third instalment, he tells Blake Richardson that forming connections and developing a deep understanding of the people you coach is integral to helping them flourish on the big stage

There will be coaches who are maestros in the art of planning and those who are absolute wizards when it comes to preparation. Many will be highly accomplished at both and have all the techniques listed in the first two chapters down to a fine art.

Yes, there’s a ‘but’ coming.

But if you haven’t taken the time to understand and connect with the people you coach, all that hard work is liable to come unstuck. Scratch that… it will come unstuck, as surely as night follows day.

Because the more you get to know your athletes – their wildest dreams and deepest desires, their wants and needs, their innermost thoughts and feelings – the more you will be able to help them thrive physically, cognitively, emotionally, psychologically and socially.

Frank compliments UK Coaching for being “far ahead of the game on coach learning and development”, and particularly in the area of coaching the person in front of you, but says he is concerned that the sector as a whole has still not fully grasped the positive implications for holistic development and maximising athletic achievement that is the common outcome of working with coaches who possess strong people skills.

Assessing the full magnitude of the value of soft skills, Frank says: “I’ve become acutely aware of how many gaps there are in coach education on this; for example, on observation skills and people orientation. I’m obsessive about getting these fundamentals into coaching programmes much earlier than we do.

All the quality coaches I’ve come across recently are well on top of this: knowing your people. The coaches who are making the biggest advances are those who make the effort to really get to know their players.”

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UK Coaching Team