Mind-Body Performance Academy has been running for 3 weeks and, as part of the training, there is a live Q & A each Sunday. Athletes, parents and coaches post questions in the private Facebook group through the week for me to answer during these sessions. Without a doubt, questions on how to improve the coach/athlete relationship have been the most common. I also hear this in my private coaching.
Examples of questions include:
1. What do I do when I feel like my coach doesn’t support me?
2. What do I do when my athlete’s coach is not giving her enough time and attention?
3. What do I do if my athlete’s coach is very negative, yells and puts down my child?
If this is the case, I believe you have two options.
1. Find a new coach
2. Communicate your concerns and/or outsource
Because I know there is either no other coach suited to work with your athlete or you don’t feel like making such a big move, option 1 will not work for many. In this case, communication and outsourcing is your best strategy. What I mean by this is that you bring your concerns to your coach first. Remember your coach is a coach, their skills lie in the ability to teach technique on the ice/court/field. They may not have any education or experience in building rapport with your athlete, strengthening their self esteem, off-ice condition, etc. These are all things you can hire a professional in the field to work on with your athlete. Let your coach focus on what they do well and leave the rest to outside professionals.
Internal Validation and Motivation
The other very important piece is teaching your athlete to develop the ability to look inside themselves for motivation and to build their confidence. Often high performers seek praise, like “good job” or a pat on the back from a coach, to know they have done well. Through mental training, I teach athletes strategies to build their own self-esteem, confidence and motivation, no longer requiring this from their coach or anyone else outside themselves.
Three Positive Strategies
One way an athlete can start to practice this is by keeping a gratitude journal, where they write down 2 things they are pleased they accomplished that day. With repetition, you become very good at noticing the positives and how you can create more of these “wins” in every practice. Another strategy is taking time to identify your “athlete superpower”, something you do very well in your sport. Recognize this and repeat it to yourself, especially when you notice yourself thinking negative thoughts. Third, if your coach comes to the rink with particularly negative energy and you feel it is being taken out on you, recognize that they are human too. You aren’t aware what has gone on in their lives before they arrived at the rink. Much of their frustration may not have anything to do with you. Try to listen for the “nuggets of wisdom” in what they are teaching you and leave the rest.
Hope you found this helpful!
Until next time,
Keep Your Brain in the Game!
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