Monday, September 8, 2008

The Psychological Ingredients of a Coach

The Crossover Movement recently reviewed research by the United States Olympic Committee that centered around coaching. Interestingly, sport psychology was found to be the fourth most important area in "understanding body of knowledge", preceded by skills, strategies, and teaching. Meanwhile, twenty insights signify coaches' emphasis on topics in sport psychology (see below, with corresponding sport psych topics in blue).

It seems, despite what coaches are trained in, or what the results show as most important, the mental game and the psychology of performance are underestimated -- yet highly significant, thus highlighted throughout. Perhaps, at the very least, sport psychology needs to be considered a major component of the "skill" category.

  1. Ability to instill belief/trust/confidence in athletes - self-efficacy
  2. Big Vision, balanced by ability to set and adjust goals - goal setting and extrinsic motivation
  3. Care about others more than self - cohesion
  4. Perseverance and a sense of humor - personality
  5. Attention to skills development of athletes; tailored to athlete needs - attentional zones
  6. Precise training techniques and coaching on a daily basis - attentional zones and flow
  7. Ability to filter - attentional zones
  8. Problem solving orientation - decision making
  9. Ability to observe without judgment - perspective taking
  10. Desire to improve through knowledge - intrinsic motivation
  11. Quality Decision makers under pressure - decision making and anxiety regulation
  12. High level of integrity and fairness - character
  13. Ability to multi-task with equal amounts of high energy - attentional zones
  14. Knowledgeable and with an ability to transfer knowledge simplistically - effective communication
  15. Focused on the process - attentional zones and flow
  16. Creative, open minded to new ideas and approaches - personality and intrinsic motivation
  17. Having thick skin - resiliency, anxiety regulation, and mental toughness
  18. Flexible, but decisive - leadership ability and personality
  19. Excellent instructional skills, ability to deliver messages - effective leadership and communication
  20. Understands critical zone training - information processing and flow


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