Posted on October 02, 2017 by Louisa Feary

Understandably a huge amount of credit must go to the athlete in question; those who compete, world record holders and gold medal winners alike, however it is often the team behind the athlete that gets overshadowed.

Coaches and their teams are the driving force behind success, the ones who plan, guide and motivate individuals and teams to greatness. When swimmers have to be at the pool at 5am in the morning, the coaches have to be there earlier to set up; when track athletes run in mid-winter, the coaches stand in the cold timing and analysing and, when athletes get injured, the coaches are the first to help. When athletes fall apart, lose motivation or want to quit, it’s the coaches who are the first to piece up pieces and get them back on track.

Those who make it past the junior stages and go on to become professional athletes often credit their first coaches who got their enthusiasm and love for the sport off to a flying start and instilled the messages and mantras that they still swear by. In some cases, athletes will stay with, or return to, their first coaches for reasons like these, such as Michael Phelps and his coach who stayed with Phelps through all of his success and later became the USA men’s coach.

“According to findings presented in November at the World Class Performance Conference in London, superelites felt that their coaches fully satisfied their emotional needs by acting as friends, mentors and unwavering supporters—in addition to providing superb technical support.”¹ The superelite being those who outshine and out medal fellow athletes at events such as the Olympics, think Phelps and Simone Biles, according to research done at Bangor University.

Coaches are in charge of planning the short term and long-term progression of their athletes, leading the sessions, coordinating other coaches if they are the head coach, sending athletes to competitions as well as looking after the mental wellbeing of their athletes. Long term planning could be the yearly targets whereas the short-term planning would be day-by-day or weekly sessions.

If a coach makes sport fun this will stay with the child from a young age, the association of fun and that particular sport will carry on and spur them on rather than deter. The aim of a coach should be not only to support them technically but emotionally, so our coaches strive to bring fun and enjoyment to all the sessions they run, regardless of who or what they are teaching.

For more information on our coaching department head to the motive8 Kids Coaching page: https://m8group.co.uk/kids-coaching/

  1. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/coaching-can-make-or-break-an-olympic-athlete/