Founder, President, and Head Instructor of the Ronin Training Institute.

Tag: coaching

Keeping Athletes Calm Under Pressure

 

As humans, we naturally feel various emotions during intense situations. From fear to excitement, our feelings run wild in those final seconds of a tied game or the last round of a fight. It falls on the shoulders of coaches to teach tactics that support students during high-pressure situations. These lessons should be implemented during practices and training and can help days of competition go smoothly.

 

Acknowledging the Pressure Point

 

One of the first steps to helping your student overcome their anxious tendencies is by properly identify their pressure point. For some athletes, it could be the beginning of a competition or game, while others it boils down to those final seconds. In the role of a coach, find methods or remedies that can alleviate any of the tension during these anxious times. Often if a coach is aware of what sets their player off, they can get to them prior to the situation and calm them down. Additionally, taking that pressure off of them, is a tactic that many successful coaches have used in the past. Using phrases such as “let’s keep having fun and doing what we do best”, rather than “push yourselves and work harder” could be the motivation that your team needs.

 

Communication Methods

 

When a student is under pressure, they often find it difficult to zero in on your instructions. Especially in team settings, your communication skills come in handy in a major way. With various learning styles, being a coach can stretch you thin when it comes to giving direction. When a team or individual are under pressure, the way you choose to deliver your instructions or advice can set the tone for their performance. All communications should be made in a calm manner, as often as possible. Show your athletes how you want them to behave through your actions and words.

 

Let Them Shine

 

Changing the aspect or vibe of the competition can often throw off many athletes. Letting them do what they know best often warrants some great results. Sometimes it’s best to just reassure them that they know what they are doing rather than giving harsh instructions. Individual sports often follow this protocol more than team ones. It is easier to point a finger in team settings but being solo also means knowing exactly who and how to improve.

 

What It Takes to be a Good Coach or Instructor

In sports, there is one person who is integral to the athletes successful outcomes. They are the brain and the gears that encourage athletes to perform at their highest potential. They are always finding ways to challenge their players and get the best out of them. They are the coach or instructor. A coach is not always the stereotypical parent volunteer who knows little to nothing about the sport. Many coaches have spent their lives mastering a specific sport. They choose to share their knowledge with athletes willing to better themselves and their understanding of the sport. Not everyone excels at being a coach. It takes a certain type of person with exceptional traits to thrive in the role.

 

Patience

 

One of the most important attributes a coach must have is patience. There will likely be circumstances where athletes learn certain concepts at different speeds. As a coach, you must have the ability to explain techniques or drills in a way that all team members understand. Not every athlete will develop at the same level, especially children and adolescents. Having the patience to ensure everyone grasps the concepts you teach is an important trait for a successful coach.

 

Communication Skills

 

For instructors, having knowledge of the sport is crucial. More important than the knowledge is having the ability to express it through efficient communication. When information is unable to transition from coach’s brain to player’s ears, the relationship and sport become tainted. When communication is effective throughout the team, the environment remains positive. Motivation often stems from powerful pep talks, and the role of a coach requires momentum to come from such discussions. Just as teaching the sport comes with adapting to the individual, communication also requires a level of patience.

 

Controlling Emotions

 

Although emotions as a whole is a broad spectrum, those leading in sports must keep them all in check. There are appropriate times for emotions in sporting events and there are inappropriate times. An example is, when a player masters a skill (during a game or match) a coach should absolutely celebrate through happy emotions. But, frantically screaming at a referee because of a bad call, is not encouraged. The athletes look to the coach for advice. As their role model, it is important to distinguish a line of acceptable forms of displaying emotions. Demonstrating passion and enthusiasm in a positive manner sets a great example, especially for the young athletes.

 

Everyone is not suited to fill the role of coach or instructor. Having an in-depth knowledge of the sport is crucial but many other characteristics come into play. Playing the part of coach entails a great deal of commitment and professionalism. These traits are ones all the great coaches past and present possessed.

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