Talent Coaches get a boost
On March 23rd Coaching Hampshire & IOW hosted its first Talent Coaches Breakfast Club. The event, held at St. Mary’s Football Stadium and delivered in association with sports coach UK, saw more than 40 local coaches who work with talented performers gather to learn more about the psychology of performance with industry specialist and internationally published author, Andy McCann.
Andy is well known in the professional sporting community having worked with a string of elite performers including the World Cup winning Welsh Rugby Team. His session focussed on the concept of Mental Toughness and Emotional Intelligence, looking at practical applications and methods that coaches could use on the frontline. Andy talked about how Mental Toughness is a state in which athletes are acutely focussed, generally referred to in some publications as the ‘optimal state of arousal’. This, McCann explains is very different to athletes being relaxed.
“We don’t want our athletes to be relaxed as this implies they may not be mentally ready to make decisions and respond appropriately in the heat of battle. We equally don’t want them to avoid being nervous. Nerves tell us that we understand the importance of the moment…Being focussed is the key to delivering our best performances”
Over the 2-hour session Andy used a combination of lecture, group discussion, personal reflection, pictures and video to create a really interactive session in which coaches were forced to challenge their existing perceptions and beliefs about mental toughness and mental training.
“How often do you spend with your athletes on Mental Training?” he asked. Whilst almost all of the coaches admitted to spending some time on mental training, many of the coaches admitted to not knowing where to start or whether their particular approach was based on a scientific, evidence-based approach.
After the session feedback the coaches was very positive with one coach saying “there was a good mix of opportunities to listen and contribute.” with another commenting “in view of the limited time frame the delivery was spent on and moved [on] without distraction…but still allowed the participants time to express their views. Andy is obviously a pro!”
Coaches also highlighted the benefits of networking with other talent coaches and that in future some time should be devoted to some structured networking. I for one spoke to Jan Crabtree, a former scUK and Sport Hampshire & IOW Coach of Year, about the possibility of running some joint Netball/Basketball activities over the summer time, a conversation that may not have happened if not for this unique event.
After the event coaches were asked to identify other topics they would find useful and following a national review of the programme a new list of topics has been pulled together. The topics include: –
- Measuring & Developing Resilience & Mental Toughness
- Adherence – The Power of Athlete ‘Buy-In’
- Elite Communication Skills
- What is a master Talent Coach Anyway?
- Assessing and developing physical competence
- Using the ‘C’ System’ to develop excellence in coaching
- Developing Talent – The role of the coach from the frontline
- ‘What about me’ – Athlete/Player perspectives on talent coaching
- Talent ID to junior national squad – the journey
So, Coaching Hampshire & IOW have got busy and have provisionally booked 3 topics and speakers for the coming year. The events will take place on Friday mornings at venues across the county. The first will be on Friday 26th October, the second at the end of January 2013 and the third date will be in March. Session topics will reflect the feedback we received following the first event and we may be able to add other events, dependent on demand.
Although our pilot event was free, the new series will come at subsidised cost. Rumours are that it will be around £15-20 per head, but no final decisions have been made at this point. All dates and topics should be confirmed by August 2012, so go to our website or check on our Facebook page for updates.
If you have ideas for topics you’d like to see delivered, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org