19 May 2022
A recent inquiry into the culture of the high-performance environment at one of New Zealand’s top sports revealed:
Many athletes perceive that their ability to perform is the most important thing, and some … athletes reported that they were afraid to speak up about personal grievances, physical or mental health concerns, or complain about staff or processes that negatively impact them out of fear that they will be seen as incapable and will not be selected for a team or competition as a result. This feeds into the “sweep it under the rug” mentality.
Whilst this finding won’t be a surprise to many, it is concerning that athletes feel this way. Speaking up requires courage and that can often be determined by an athlete’s personality or the degree of success they have had in their sport (more successful athletes feel more empowered to speak up). However, every athlete should feel empowered to speak and there are skills that can be learned which enable powerful conversations to take place.
18 March 2022
Scientific research suggests that the effects of catching COVID 19 can vary from person to person irrespective of vaccination status. With the Omicron variant, symptoms can vary from mild to severe, and science is yet to determine why some experience Long Covid whereas others do not. For an athlete, catching COVID can have extended impacts as recovery times and long-term symptoms can impact a season or possibly an athletic career. Seeing teammates return to training quicker than you, may negatively impact an athlete’s mental health and impede recovery. Navigating the path to recovery therefore takes on greater importance for an athlete to ensure the least disruption possible to training.
22 February 2022
Reviews into the culture of sporting organisations over recent years have become more prevalent. Findings of bullying can be met in some quarters that sport is become too ‘PC’ or athletes are becoming ‘too soft’. There is no denying that competition is a stressful environment and those who are successful are those who are able to handle that stress, whether of the mind or the body. But what is the role of the coach in preparing the athlete for competition, and when does a coach step over the line?
25 January 2022
To achieve a goal, you must embark on a journey of achievement arriving at your goal. So when someone ells you that they have achieved the same goal (or something of greater significance) and this is how they did it, then it is an easy temptation to follow their path. However, that can often lead to disappointment and sometimes a feeling of worthlessness if, despite following their roadmap, you can’t achieve the same outcome. It is natural to think the problem must lie with you - for example, you blame yourself for not working hard enough or being committed enough. You may even be told this by the person who gave you the map because they can’t understand why you didn’t achieve the same result. But, the problem likely lies in the map you were given to follow.
19 January 2022
I grew up as an only child in the UK in the 70s and 80s. My dad was in his mid-late 50s when he had me and my mum has had a prosthetic leg since the age of 4. I mention these things because it meant that I rarely played any form of sport or physical activity with my parents when I was growing up which became tricky when I joined a sport playing school at the age of 8. I recall my first game of football. I was given a position (centre half which is ironic given what I am about to say) but I didn’t realise that I could move from my position. I spent the whole game rooted to the spot.
14 January 2022
It is easy to think that any kind of coaching, if done moderately well, is transformational. That’s because you start at point A and end at point B. The journey from A to B requires that changes are made to the person at point A to become the person at point B. However, there are two ways to get from A to B: one is linear and the other is exponential. Linear takes far longer and you may give up before reaching your destination.
Transformational coaching is all about exponential growth.