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For the past year now I have been coaching disability athletics, I have been given the opportunity to coach army veteran Nathan Cumberland who is taking part in next weeks invictus game's. Over the past 12 months I have learned so much from head throw's coach Phil Pete, I never in a million years saw myself coaching disability athletics, both Phil and Nathan have inspired me to continue my coaching career and have supported and steered me in the right direction, working with disability athletics has given me my drive and determination as well as my self worth which to be honest I felt I had lost. I was on the vurge of giving 9 years of hard work up due to my previous experience as a female coach. I'm still a little nervous around coaching adults I suppose give me a litte more time and i will over come this. I'm still in the process of building up my confidence coaching adults a new learning curve for me.
I really don't understand as I'm used to coaching children and young adults with physical, mental and learning difficulties why am I do I get nervous coaching adults?
Hi Emma, with your bags of experience and boundless enthusiasm, I'm sure you will get the answers you are searching for. If you haven't seen it already, some of your concerns are addressed in the blog I wrote on making the transition from coaching adults to children. May be worth a read...
Age-old debate: Crossing the divide between coaching adults and children
Thanks for your quick reply, I have not yet seen it , I will take a look .
Thanks again Blake your a star. 😄
Thanks for sharing your experience, it's always interseting to hear another coach's journey. I have provided some responses to your questions below lots of which you may have already done. Hopefully there's something to help you though.
What ideas can you share to help coaches overcome nervousness?
Firstly I think it's important that you understand what it is that your nervous about. Is it everything or are there specific things? Once you know this you can start to put some strategies in place which may include further reading, observations of other coaches who may be particularly strong/experienced and who's practice may offer ideas for you to incorporate in your coaching.
This feeling of being more nervous in a new/different environment is common so don't let it put you off. You have got 9 years of solid experience of coaching which will no doubt provide sound foundations. Be clear about who you are, your values, and strengths as a coach. Essentially what I acn offer is ........... What I've found with coaching adults is that they are far more ready to challenge and questions things. This isn't neccessarily them trying to be a pain so don't be put off by it. Finally, once you know yourself, be honest because athletes will soon see through you if you try and 'blag' your way through. If the athlete needs something that you don't think you can currently provide seek help from those who can. Is there someone that you can bounce ideas off and seek advice from time to time?
Have you ever felt like giving up coaching through a lack of support from others?
In short, Yes.
It's not always easy and can be a lonely role on times. Without trying to patronise in anyway, some of the things I do that really help me are:
1) Read extensively - books from across a range of sports and even business. Some of the biggest influencers on me have been Legacy (James Kerr) - Rugby Union; They Call Me Coach: John Wooden (all of Wooden's books are great) - Basketball; Vince Lombardi (again various books) - American Football; Alex Ferguson: Leading - Football.
2) Observe coaches from a range of sports. I have made contact through email usually. Some don't reply whilst others are happy to allow you in their environment. Before going along to a session I try and be specific in what I am going to observe otherwise I find myself merely watching and not really noticing anything. Some of the more recent things I've looked at are:
How a coach involves athletes in decision making; The terminology they use when intervenining 1 to 1 vs groups; Different types of intervention strategies they employ and why they may be using that strategy at that time with that athlete.
Post-observation I then tend to use Driscoll's model to reflect because I find it simple and easy to inform my practice: What did I observe? So What does this mean to me as a coach with my players? Now What am I going to do to implement some of these?
3) Attend CPD events or further academic education/coach edcation courses.
How did you overcome your nervousness?
I still experience nerves and think its all part of coaching. Based on what I've said above I try and be clear in who I am, continue to upskill and enhance my knowledge which hopefully allows me to be confident in my delivery.
Children vs Adults. Do you coach them different?
I would say yes. For me one of the most important things for a coach is context specificity - knowing: the people you are coaching; the environment and culture of the sport/association/team; and the needs and expectations of the athletes. As a result I think not only will your approach differ between children and adults but also between child to child and adult to adult. That's not to say that your technical knowledge of the sport will neccessarily need to differ. More the way you engage and communicate with the athletes will differ.
Do you find it harder to coach adults? Why?
Sometimes I think it is more difficult beacuse from some of my experiences, children haven't needed motivating whilst adults have done on times. Adults can bring with them other life challenges which invariably aren't present when coaching chldren. This again has strengthened my belief that as coaches we must develop the person before developing the athlete.
I would again refer to knowing yourself because this may potentially help with identifying where you are most effective as a coach. For me I know that I struggle most when coaching very young players beacuse despite being a dad to two little girls under the age of 6 when in a coaching capacity I have always found it more difficult to engage with very young players - my personality is better suited to older children I think.
Hope this has helped somewhat Emma. Probably given you lots more questions than answers but happy to chat if it would help.
Thanks for the great advice. I have since sat on what you have said looked at why I'm nervous, I think because in the past as a woman coach I have been pushed to one side and tucked under a rug for later. Over the past year I have been working alongside England's throws coach, coaching athletes for the invictus game's as well as Paralympic athlete's. On wednesday last week one head coach said you can coach today's session I will assess you. Within minutes my nervous side kicked in , I felt like I was about to take a exam I did feel very uncomfortable, I think the problem for me was the fact that we all have different coaching ideas and ways of coaching. I could probably do with some. Confidence building.
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