Tag Archive for 'coaching'

Mental coaching must follow the coaching rules

The psychological training of athletes should develop according to the basic concepts of training, which are basically about passing:

  • from simple to complex
  • from exercises of a general nature to those specific to the discipline practised
  • from a reduced to a longer time duration
  • to be driven in relative comfort to more stressful and challenging conditions

The proposal formulated in the previous blog responds to these needs.

  • The first exercise is simple and basic (do a deep abdominal breathing)
  • The second exercise is of a general nature and applies to any sport.
  • The third exercise is specific (in this case for tennis)
  • Finally, the third exercise can be done in your comfort zone, but afterwards you can add environmental or personal stress conditions

Here is a simple and practical explanation of what has been said above and that brings the psychological preparation closer to the rules and methods of physical and technical-tactical training that are well understood by every athlete. In this way it promotes a better and more effective understanding by athletes and coaches of the purposes and effects of mental training.

Coaching in these difficult days

These days it is not always possible to train as we would like because the sports center could be closed, in many sports you need to train with someone else and there is not always this opportunity, because the coaches could have personal problems and so on. Especially younger athletes than senior national team athletes may encounter these difficulties more.

For those at home I would like to give some suggestions to train anyway, even if in a different way than usual.

Set goals - It is necessary to have goals on which to orient the daily commitment, in many sports can relate more to physical and mental preparation, easier to perform at home or in spaces other than the usual training environment. So set what to do, when and for how long.
Physical Preparation - Have your coach send you the physical preparation program you can do at home. Follow it and exchange results, thinking and difficulties with him/her.
Mental Preparation - Use this days to focus more on this type of training. You can train 4 psychological skills: self-control through breathing, concentration on task and performance, imagination of your performance, and have a constructive self-talk. Do it on a daily basis, if you work with a sports psychologist, work together for this program that is good to do on a daily basis. If you would like to use this time to start such a job, you can contact a sports psychologist or write to me through the blog and I will reply.
Videos - Watching videos of other athletes’ performances is useful to understand how they face competitions, moments of difficulty, style of play or anything else that may interest you. Watch videos driven by a specific target and not like a fan.

Training is in the pleasure to repeat

Training is to repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, with the pleasure of repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, with the pleasure of repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, with the pleasure of repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat with the pleasure of repeat.

The coaching social value

Today in Roma there will be the Conference of Reinhard Stelter regrading the social individual value connected to the coaching process, I propose again the review of his book about this topic.

A Guide to Third Generation Coaching

Reinhard Stelter

Dordrecht: Springer Science, 2014, p.254

http://www.springer.com/new+%26+forthcoming+titles+(default)/book/978-94-007-7185-7

This book talks about coaching from a societal perspective. Since the beginning coaching has been interpreted as a process to increase managers’ skills and in any case as a system to approach and solve problems. Third Generation Coaching   is oriented on values  and create meaning underlying aspirations, passions and habits. This concept remember me the Amartya Sen identity idea, when he explains that every day we are part of different groups and in this way we have a multiple identity, build on this different contexts and roles. Thus, Third Generation Coaching talks about our identity, view as interpersonal process continuously in movement. Coachees and coaches  live a space of self-reflection not to improve specific competences but to permit to the coachees to know better themselves and may be to see their life in a new perspective.  Really, this coaching vision is an invitation to change stride, moving to a different interpretation of our life.  For this reason Stelter underlines the main role played by values “as important landmarks for navigating in life.” Today where financial fraud in business and doping in sport are so diffuse, a changing process based on values and ethics became fundamental to guarantee social respect and freedom form illegal actions. In fact, Stelter developed this new coaching approach in a time where values are not very well represented in our society, where at the contrary every day the newspapers published news about bankruptcies or doping cases like the most famous is Lance Amstrong fall. The book talks about the necessity to build in professional or every life meaning-experiences, based on our past stories and the present in order to have a better future. Third Generation Coaching changed also the coach role, he/she became a facilitator of the coachee’s reflections concerning is cultural roots and social relations, very important because determining his/her confidence into the social environments. Third generation coaching proposes a form of dialogue where coach and coachee are focused on creating space for reflection through collaborative practices and less concerned with fabricating quick solutions. Aspiring to achieve moments of symmetry between coach and coachee, where their dialogue is driven by a strong emphasis on meaning-making, values, aspirations and identity issues. Coach and coachee meet as fellow-humans in a genuine dialogue. I can say that also in sport we assisted in an evolution of this kind in the program of athletes’ mental coaching. Till 10 years ago the programs for them were related almost exclusively to increase specific mental skills, to use during the most important events. At this approach, successively, has been added an approach more oriented to reflect about their life style, to the positive role the athletes can play in our society, to doping as negative value for them and for the society because based on deception.

Third generation coaching

Interessante conferenza di Reinhard Stelter, Università di Copenaghen, sulle nuove prospettive del coaching.

Youth sport: problems and solutions

Youth sport is becoming a great problem and an article published in the magazine of US Olympic Committee helps to understand what might be the reasons and proposals for solutions. I wrote in a short summary but the  article by Christine M. Brooks (Summer 2016) is certainly wider and interesting to read.

  • There is a high pediatric dropout rate from sports (between 2008 and 2013 there were 2.6 million fewer six to twelve year-old kids participating the six traditional sports).
  • Coaches are using higher training intensities at younger ages than ever before possibly causing long-term harm to young athletes (the LTAD model attempts to guide coaches about the appropriate training for children who are at different maturational phases).
  • There is an increase in childhood obesity and subsequent health problems (in the United States, 17 to 31 percent of children and adolescents are obese).
Goals
  • The principle of enjoyment embraces Mihály Csíkszentmihályi’s notion of ‘FLOW,’ that in turn, explains why individuals enjoy an activity. Approximately 40 percent of pediatric athletes in one survey claim they dropped out of sports because they were not having fun. The coaching goal is to train athletes in small, manageable learning steps so they remain in the zone of FLOW. Research indicates that educated coaches lower kids’ anxiety levels and lift their self-esteem.
  • The principle of striving for improvement involves enticing young athletes to constantly strive for the upper limits of their genetic potential while concurrently keeping them in FLOW. If they are out of ‘FLOW,’ it is theoretically impossible to motivate ongoing practice and striving, and therefore progress toward full genetic potential will be blunted.
  • The principle of appropriate training goes hand-in-hand with the child’s growth and maturation. The LTAD model attempts to match structural growth and maturation to the appropriate motor skill complexity and intensity of physical training.
  • The principle of doing no harm is at the basis of coaching. Four million school-age children in the US are injured while playing sports every year. The reason can partly be attributed to stressing a body that has immature balance and coordination beyond its capacity.

Advanced workshop on sport psychology and coaching

 

The continuous improvement as successful strategy

The coaching to cope with the new challenges is an individual training. Its aim is to increase at the maximum level the personal competences, permitting at each one to become the best she can be.

The coaching is a road supporting the personal change, starting from a positive appreciation of the past performances and knowing that it is the continuous renewal that will permit to repeat the successes reached.

At this proposal it seems very specific the comparison between the manager skills and the top athletes skills because they have to perform at their best:

  • they have reached most of the goals expected and planned in advance and they are oriented to achieve their next performance goals
  • they are totally committed and very energetic in their activities
  • they perceive themselves accountable about the results of their/team performances
  • they are considered by the young collaborators/athletes as a model to emulate
  • they like the challenges, compete and win
  • they are solution oriented
  • they search the contribution of the people able to help them to reach their goals

It is obvious that it is not easy to reach all these skills in one person and also in the high potential people these characteristics come from a strong commitment in this direction. For them the frustrating days and/or the unsuccessful performances represent hard situation to cope with, but they know  the mistakes represent  good learning opportunities to approach with confidence.

Book review: 7 Things We Don’t Know!

7 Things We Don’t Know!

Coaching Challenges in Sport Psychology and Skill Acquisistion

 Jean Fournier and Damian Farrow

 Mindeval Canada Inc, 2013

www.mindeval.com

The link to read the first chapter is here: www.mindeval.com/en/

 7 Things We Don’t Know! is a book designed for progressive coaches who are motivated to consider and potentially adjust their current coaching or training programs so that they are getting the most out of contemporary Sport Psychology and Skill Acquisition research. I believe it will also relevant for the sport psychologists because the authors talk about coaching problem, imagery, cognitive processes like anticipation and attention from a perspective different from usual. In this way, many practitioners could start to think in a different way your daily job with athletes and coaches.

Second, what makes this book different from many other texts on Sport Psychology and Skill Acquisition is that the content is presented in the most applicable manner to coaches and athletes. It is written with a short and concise style, and numerous practical examples are provided to illustrate how the theories could be applied to practice.

The imagery is discussed in light of its practical application, it’s well explained the use of this skill must match well with the athletes’ needs, integrating this mental activity in the coaching sessions.  The second chapter is devoted to the use of mindfulness in mental coaching. Jean Fournier propose a mindfulness program based on his experiences in different sports and the pages on this topic illustrate his approach based on four steps: presentation of the method and assessment, mindfulness training, acceptance training and attention training. The third regards the thinking. He try to clarify: what does focus mean? The readers will find suggestions  to find the relevant focus point in different sports and different situations, to improve the focus in training and to apply all these things during the competitions. The following chapter is about  the use of the routines, it’s explained why they are useful in sports but there is a new aspect introduced in this presentation, regarding the use of mindfulness in the routine planned by the athletes. The next four chapters are written by the other author, Damian Farrow. His first chapter talks about the relevance of variability during training and the need to organize the drills in a way very near to the competition rules and development. It’s a chapter that I suppose very useful for the coaches, who must always to cope with the dilemma about necessity to integrate the repetitions and athletes’ motivation and about the relation between the standard repetitions and drills more similar to the game characteristics. In these pages Farrow provides information confirming the concept that the athletes learn to anticipate instead to be born with this gift and he talks about a number of training approaches to improve this skill.  Goal of the following chapter is to encourage coaches to use implicit coaching style instead to use only an explicit style. Farrow remember that probably the best implicit information an athlete can receive is the Nike motto: “Just do it.” The last chapter regards another relevant question: have the athletes need of a coach feedback provided in a real time? Today coaches with the help of the new technologies have the opportunity to provide information in real time with great precision. The problem they have to cope with regards their competences to use the correct timing without the risk to overload the athletes’ mind. Farrow talks about the definition of the bandwidth of correctness for a movement. Established this range of correctness the coaches will know exactly when to provide a corrective feedback.

Final comment: read this book with the spirit to find some new ideas for our work  and to change something in our approach with the athletes.

Book review: A Guide to Third Generation Coaching

A Guide to Third Generation Coaching

Reinhard Stelter

Dordrecht: Springer Science, 2014, p.254

http://www.springer.com/new+%26+forthcoming+titles+(default)/book/978-94-007-7185-7

This book talks about coaching from a societal perspective. Since the beginning coaching has been interpreted as a process to increase managers’ skills and in any case as a system to approach and solve problems. Third Generation Coaching   is oriented on values  and create meaning underlying aspirations, passions and habits. This concept remember me the Amartya Sen identity idea, when he explains that every day we are part of different groups and in this way we have a multiple identity, build on this different contexts and roles. Thus, Third Generation Coaching talks about our identity, view as interpersonal process continuously in movement. Coachees and coaches  live a space of self-reflection not to improve specific competences but to permit to the coachees to know better themselves and may be to see their life in a new perspective.  Really, this coaching vision is an invitation to change stride, moving to a different interpretation of our life.  For this reason Stelter underlines the main role played by values “as important landmarks for navigating in life.” Today where financial fraud in business and doping in sport are so diffuse, a changing process based on values and ethics became fundamental to guarantee social respect and freedom form illegal actions. In fact, Stelter developed this new coaching approach in a time where values are not very well represented in our society, where at the contrary every day the newspapers published news about bankruptcies or doping cases like the most famous is Lance Amstrong fall. The book talks about the necessity to build in professional or every life meaning-experiences, based on our past stories and the present in order to have a better future. Third Generation Coaching changed also the coach role, he/she became a facilitator of the coachee’s reflections concerning is cultural roots and social relations, very important because determining his/her confidence into the social environments. Third generation coaching proposes a form of dialogue where coach and coachee are focused on creating space for reflection through collaborative practices and less concerned with fabricating quick solutions. Aspiring to achieve moments of symmetry between coach and coachee, where their dialogue is driven by a strong emphasis on meaning-making, values, aspirations and identity issues. Coach and coachee meet as fellow-humans in a genuine dialogue. I can say that also in sport we assisted in an evolution of this kind in the program of athletes’ mental coaching. Till 10 years ago the programs for them were related almost exclusively to increase specific mental skills, to use during the most important events. At this approach, successively, has been added an approach more oriented to reflect about their life style, to the positive role the athletes can play in our society, to doping as negative value for them and for the society because based on deception.