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Sports Coaching

What is Sports Coaching?
She hears a thud as her shoe connects with the ball, and then she’s running, dribbling, while her breath comes in hard gasps. The tangy smell of sweat fills her nose as a roar grows from the crowd, almost deafening, as she and her teammates pass the ball back and forth. Finally, the moment comes, a chance for the perfect kick. She sets her eyes on the target, gathers her strength, manoeuvres, kicks and….GOAL!
She opens her eyes and gets ready to head out to the field.

You see, the athlete in this scenario was using one of the important components of sport to get her prepared for a big match. The technique of visualisation, in which the athlete fully pictures the moment of triumph, helps to build confidence and capability. It is one of the many mental strategies that sports coaches use to help their clients improve performance.

Great athletes have to be more than physically strong, fit, and quick. They also have to be mentally tough and resilient. Competitive sports require a huge amount of mental investment. The process of training alone is enough to overwhelm many people, while the reality of coping with both wins and losses is even harder. Mental coaching helps to build strength and overcome barriers to winning.

How Does Sports Coaching Help?

It’s usually pretty obvious when an individual is struggling with a certain area of their physical functioning for sports. Perhaps coordination is a bit off, or response time is slow, or strength isn’t up to par, or certain skills need honing. However, when a competitor is struggling mentally, it is not usually evident to the naked eye.

Internal barriers can often cause athletes to stumble when they try to go for the gold. Beliefs of inadequacy, fears, and past failures can haunt individuals to the point where they become crippling. A mental coach helps an individual to locate the weaknesses that are holding him or her from achieving their full potential. The coach also helps clients to identify goals and works towards achieving them. Often the physical side of things are overlooked as just that ‘physical problems’ however, beliefs such as the above can lead to self sabotage, ie under-eating, not training right without even realising why (subconscious processes) that can be explored with a good sports coach.

Coaches use several techniques to help sharpen athletes’ minds and get them fit for the game. In addition to visualisation and imagery, coaches help players to intensify their motivation, by using both external and internal motivators. Additionally, coaches train athletes to develop their attentional focus, that is, their ability to tune out distractions and give their full attention to the competition at hand.

Who Needs A Sports Coach?

Mental coaching for sports is often imagined to be only for the top elite athletes in the world. While they are the most likely to hire a coach, coaching doesn’t have to be limited just to them! Any individual who wants to improve his or her athletic abilities can benefit from having a coach.

Coaching is especially helpful for anyone who has lost motivation or confidence for their favourite sport. If you feel like you’re in a slump, or you can never succeed, or if playing the game has lost all its joy for you, then it is probably time for you to consider having a mental coach of your own!

By working with a coach, you’ll be able to find new excitement and motivation for your favourite sport. With renewed energy, you will set your eyes on the prize and begin pursuing it. For many of us, even if we aren’t professionals, sports are a way for us to feel capable, powerful, and successful. Working with a coach can help you to experience those feelings again!