So who is the driving force behind every team to make them successful or non-successful? There is a coaching environment which exists for all teams which either facilitates the athlete’s progression in the sport or could possible scare them from the team. It is the people involved directly with the team that creates this coaching environment. Who precisely is involved here shall be discussed as well as the influence sport scientists may have on this environment, whether it is a hindrance or have a beneficial impact.Discussion Whilst we may have an ideal of the type of team or athlete needed to win, having it and making everything work are two different things (Sewell et al, 2005).
“You get the best effort from others not by lighting a fire beneath them, but by building a fire within. “- Bob Nelson. Thus an environment which facilitates learning and progression of skill must be created before successful coaching can take place.Coaches operate from principles of success. To repeat the key principles as part of their coaching environment: Coaches must maintain their commitment to support the individual, build their coaching relationships on truth openness and trust as well as mutual respect and understanding (NCF 1986), know that their athletes are responsible for the results they are generating and that they are potentially capable of better results.
Coaching athletes at all levels calls for a variety of skills; depending on the support structure, the coach is likely to have to be motivator, technical expert, psychologist, bus driver, kit-carrier, administrator and manager, to name but a few of the obvious roles. Your athletes will respond to your enthusiasm, or lack of, in your coaching sessions (NCF 1986) so thus creating a positive environment is an important part of your coaching technique. Removing the barriers to learning and focusing the attention of your athletes is necessary.It is especially important when coaching young athletes to remember your relationship with their parents is vital. Sometimes you may come across ‘pushy’ parents whose opinions conflict with yours’, you don’t want to create confusion for your young athletes so try and agree on what’s best for the performer, ensuring your willingness to communicate. It is also the responsibility of the athlete(s) to contribute to the coaching environment that is being developed.
The variables that may contribute to this would be the mental characteristics of the performers e. g. commitment, effort, confidence and communication (Cote 2006).Committing themselves to the coach and team as well as showing to the coach their willingness to work will have an effect on the coaching environment. There are contextual factors that can have an effect on both athlete and coach which include the training resources of the club and whether a good competitive environment is generated by the club, e. g.
crowd, level of competition etc, (Cote 2006). Implications from a sport scientist’s perspective Ever since humans have strived towards the elusive competitive edge, the need to improve performance and athletic ability has been an intense area of study.How can one put a definition on the work of a sport scientist? Sport and exercise sciences uses the scientific principles from established sciences, and applies them to the sport and exercise environment in order to, for example, improve performance of an athlete, which may be coming back after an injury. Sport scientists work mostly with elite and professional athletes. Paula Radcliffe and Kelly Holmes, as talented as they are, would find it very difficult to achieve their significant levels of sporting excellence without the knowledge and support offered by sport science.Take for example, our very own world renowned sports scientist Gerard Hartmann who has worked with athletes including Paula Radcliffe and Kelly Holmes.
I think sport science enhances the quality of the coaching environment by tackling the skills of the sport from a biomechanical prospective to aid the performers learning. This applies more so to the elite athlete where a slight error in performing a critical feature to the skill may be hindering their performance by the slightest fraction, but no matter how small, fixing these slight errors could win them the competition.Along with the coach as a mentee, the sport scientist takes on a consulting role when providing biomechanical support to the athlete or team to ultimately enhance their performance (Sewell et al 2009). In this role, the sport scientist uses their knowledge for the benefit of the client. The positive and learning facilitative coaching environment may be slightly hindered if the sport scientist input doesn’t get recognized or looked to by the coach and some of the athletes.This could be a result of coach’s varying opinion over the scientific-based one, or the lack of respect the coach may have in the sport scientist due to lack of experience in the sport at hand. The basis of the relationship between the sport scientist and coach has to be centered on the athlete or team and on improving their performance.
In order for this to happen, the sport scientist has to show dedication to the team and therefore show the coach commitment.It’s essential that the sport scientist have a close relationship with the coach and be present at every workout and training session to allow for day-to-day observation of the training process, monitoring the athlete here in order to make direct improvements to them (Purdy 2010). Another possible problem may come about if the sport scientist has not got enough experience in the sport itself.
It has been seen that elite level coaches would only consider the advice of the sport scientists who could demonstrate a thorough understanding of the sport with which they worked (Purdy 2010).Conclusion So it is mainly the coach who impacts on the coaching environment that exists for the athlete or team. A coach must have an engaging personality in order to create a suitable coaching environment that suits their athletes. Remembering that at young age a recreational environment is required, with a fun, positive and enjoyable environment over a competitive one. Although the transition as they get older in relation to the environment set is also important in getting the athlete to improve.We can see that it is important for the coach to recognize the roles which they play in the eyes of the athlete and possibly the families of them also can have an impact on the performance of their player. Overall I think that a sport scientist can compliment and elevate the coach’s work with an athlete or team by backing up their decisions on training and competitive situations with their scientific knowledge of the sport.
Bridging the gap between sport science and coaching is important when the athlete wants to strive to be the best competitor that they can be.