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How have you helped to stimulate athletes to do well in and out of competition. | Coaching Adults

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Posted in: All other topics on coaching adults

How have you helped to stimulate athletes to do well in and out of competition.

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  •  Whilst observing my athlete in training session I noticed he looked very stressed, agitated, very uncomfortable and frustrated I was already aware of his current stresses as he is waiting to have his foot amputated and will be out of training for a while. The athlete didn't quite seem himself when asked "are you ok?" he replied " I just can't seem to get my throws right and it's frustrating me". Whilst observing throughout the whole training session I couldn't find anything wrong apart from the fact that he looked very tense and not very relaxed like he normally was when throwing.  I didn't want the athlete to feel deflated or disheartened so I stopped the session for 10 minutes to explain that his throws were great and that his seated position was great however he looked very tense. I explained that some athlete's like to be geed up /egged on unsure these are the correct terms to use, some throwers shout whilst throwing and some athletes just like total silence before competition, I explained that one of our other athletes throws better when he shouts I found this out last year when he too was having difficulty with his throwing and I advised him to become a little more aggressive with his throws, that athlete took my advice and threw 2 meters more with his aggression. Knowing that the athlete was very tense  and not very relaxed I advised him to try some breathing techniques as this might help relax him. The athlete took my advice sat for 5 minute took some deep breaths and began to relaxed. From those 5 minutes of relaxation and breathing techniques this enabled the athlete to have better concentration he said he didn't feels as tense and felt more relaxed and happy his performance after 10 minuets became much better.

    Being an ex athlete myself I was not one of those athletes you would egg on /gee up  in or out of competition I hated people cheering for me as I felt this was off putting.

    • What other techniques or advice have you given athletes to help with there performance
     
  • Hi Emma

    A very interesting account - I'm not sure anything is going to help anyone completely get over the prospect of losing a foot, but it sounds like you did a great job in a tough situation.
    In terms of things I've said to athletes to help with their performance, I think the most memorable was "imagine a purple elephant riding a bicycle". One of the things that perhaps made it so memorable was the context... 
    I was taking an athlete through his warm up before the national under 20 championships where he was running the sprint hurdles. This was the biggest event of his season and he came in a little anxious. Despite it not having been an issue all season, for some reason he was having real difficulty getting to hurdle 1, either slamming the brakes on at the last second or putting an extra stride in to arrive at the hurdle on the wrong leg. It was pretty crowded in the warm up area so all his competitors saw the difficulty he was having, which added to his nerves and the pressure he was putting on himself.
    With very little time for a few more practice starts remaining I approached him as he lined up on the start line and told him to clear his head and imagine the purple elephant on a bicycle. The other athletes and coaches looked at me like I was mad. My athlete knows me well enough to know that there is (usually!) method in my madness.
    There's a lot of truth in the adage that "if you imagine you can or imagine you can't, you are probably right". Whilst it's all well and good telling someone to relax, that's very hard to do of someone is thinking about how things are not going very well! There was no point telling the athlete just to clear his head and focusing on a particular technical aspect of the start just brought him back to what wasn't working. I needed him back on autopilot, doing what he had done hundreds of times in training. By giving him something different to think about he was able to go back to relying on muscle memory.
    He ran well to hurdle 1 in the race. Unfortunately he then ploughed through the middle of hurdle 2 and fell behind the field. Perhaps we needed a second elephant to think about!
     · Rob Maaye and Emma Tomlinson like this.
     
  • Thank you soo much for your reply,  the Elephant scenario that really bought a smile to my face and to which I will use. 

    It can be a little difficult to know exactly what to say when your athletes have underlying issues and also mental health issues. When coaching I always try to make a joke but also be professional at the same time, I feel being a little crazy is a must to bring a smile to athletes faces this also makes session's a little less tense. 

     · Andy Poppleton likes this.
     
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