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UK Coaching Team
21
Safety and Welfare Supporting Specific Needs

Promoting Positive Messages around Food, Weight and Shape in your Training Environment

In the third part of our series on disordered eating, Dr Carolyn Plateau and Dr Sebastian Sandgren from Loughborough University explore how coaches, and the wider coaching team, can promote positive messages about food, weight, and shape with their participants

Good food and nutrition are essential to sporting success. However, sometimes coaches and other physical activity and sports professionals find these topics difficult to talk about.

Often coaches can be concerned about exacerbating any potential eating problems in their participants or feel that the topic is best left to nutrition and dietetics professionals. However, avoiding the topic altogether can make it difficult for participants to express any concerns they have about their eating habits, and may make identifying and supporting individuals with eating problems more challenging for coaches and the wider coaching team. 

Indeed, creating a positive training environment is important for helping to foster positive physical and psychological well-being in participants, and can help to prevent eating problems.  

Whilst specific nutritional requirements and advice for participants should come from qualified professionals, there are still practices that coaches and the wider coaching team can aim to instil in their coaching practice and training environments to promote positive relationships with food and fuelling among their participants. 

Reflect

How do you and your organisation promote positive messages about food, weight, and shape with your participants?

How do you and your organisation encourage positive fuelling practices with your participants?

How do you approach participants that are routinely not fuelling themselves appropriately for training?

How do you approach participants that use negative language about their bodies?

How flexible are you and your organisation around clothing for training and competition?

What kind of role model are you and the wider coaching team? Do you promote positive language, body image and fuelling practices?

 

Consider

What additional strategies can you consider putting in place to enhance your training environment further? 

 

Learn more about Disordered Eating

Improve your knowledge and understanding of eating problems so you have the confidence to identify issues and react appropriately if you have concerns about an athlete.

View the full seven-part series

Discounted Online Course

To learn more about supporting participants with eating disorders complete the CIMPSPA and CPD UK-accredited online course from Loughborough University. Subscribe to access a 51% discount on the course.

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Related Resources

  • Eating Disorders: Analysis of Coaching Strategies

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  • Eating Disorders: Applying the Supportive Approach

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  • Thinking About Food: Finding the Right Choice When Eating Out

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