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Chris Chapman
80
Talent and Performance Rapport Building and Communicating

Flip Thinking: Stepping into the Athlete’s Shoes

Considering how the athletes at your sessions think and feel is a key step in ensuring that your coaching environment meets their needs. Key points to think about include how and when you communicate with athletes

Picture this. It’s the first day in a talent development environment. You have coached here before, you’re feeling excited and you can’t wait to get started. Now pause for a minute and flip your thinking. Step into the athlete’s shoes.

Ask yourself:

  1. How might the athletes be feeling for the first time in this environment?
  2. What could they be thinking?
  3. What are their hopes and concerns?
  4. How are they going to travel to the session?
  5. Will they know anyone at the session?
  6. Do they think they're good enough?
  7. Will they wonder what the coaches and staff will be like?

Makes you think, doesn't it? They are all the things that they are potentially thinking and feeling, and that are affecting their emotions and actions. For some this will be an exciting moment full of positive energy; others may have mixed emotions. 

So back to the coach. How are you going to make your environment inclusive for the athletes? 

A few things to consider before your athletes arrive:

  • Who will be at the session?
  • How can you help the athletes to know what is going to happen?
  • What will be expected of them and what do they need to bring with them?
  • What about their parents and carers?
  • What would they like to know?

As they arrive, think about how you will meet and greet everyone. Will you take a formal approach and allow them to congregate or take the time to meet them as they arrive?

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Chris Chapman