How can athletes find the best coach to work with?
Finding the best coach is crucial, but it’s not always easy. Putting your athletic performance and maybe even your career in their hands means you need to get the best possible person, but is it possible to get the perfect match?
Why finding the perfect coach is crucial for athletes
Have you ever watched athletes at the highest level perform extraordinary feats and run into the arms of their gleeful coach? Do you wonder how on earth they found such a great coach to work with? You’re not alone – at some point in their career, most athletes will ask themselves how they can find the best coach or staff members to take their performance to the next level.
If you want to find the best possible person to work with in your pursuit of excellence, you’ll need to listen to episode 84 of the Science for Sport Podcast, with David Joyce. Joyce boasts years of experience at the highest levels of sport, including work at Scaracens (rugby), Galatasaray (football) and the Chinese Olympic Committee. He thinks the coach is one of the most important relationships an athlete can have – especially at younger ages.
“Outside your family and friends, when you’re a kid playing sport, your coach is possibly the most important person in your life. If we gathered all of the professions into one building and set fire to the building, I think coaches would be in your first five groups of people that you try to rescue,” Joyce said.
Please don’t test this theory.
Is there such a thing as a ‘perfect coach’?
So with the assumption that coaches are really that important, finding the best possible coach is of the utmost importance. Putting your athletic performance and possibly even your career in their hands means you need to get the best possible person, but is it possible to get the perfect match?
“I don’t think there’s such a thing as a perfect coach. And in the same way, there’s no one perfect person, perfect wife, perfect husband, or perfect employee,” Joyce said.
Okay, so a perfect match might not be possible but if that’s the case, what should be the goal when it comes to finding a great coach?
“What you should be looking for is whether there is a really good fit, or if not, could I get a better fit?” Joyce said.
Sounds obvious, right? But how do you go about finding that really good fit? This is where it gets tricky.
Fortunately, our friendly Aussie guest has a three-step plan to ensure every athlete has the highest possible chances of success.
Drilling down into what’s important
Firstly, you will need to know a little more about the technical skills of the coach.
“[You will need to know] what the coach’s skills are, what the coach brings to the table,” Joyce said.
Identifying these qualities might be tough, but by doing your homework and asking other athletes for feedback, you will boost your chances.
When you have identified if the prospective coach has the technical competencies to coach you, then you can move on to stage two. Here you have to see whether the coach matches your values. To do this, you’ll need some good self-reflection.
“So you need to know what your values are, what your mission purpose is, all those sorts of things,” Joyce said.
If you can match both the coach’s competencies and their values to yours, there’s a chance you might have a good fit. But let’s take a second to learn from the dating world – just because two dating profiles match, it doesn’t mean you’ll actually get on well, and let’s be honest, you don’t want to pay for dinner and not get a second date!
“Like on paper, you can say that this boy or this girl seems like a perfect match for me, but it’s only when you’ve had a number of dates that you can say whether they will be a really good match for me,” Joyce said.
Making sure the puzzle pieces fit together
So how do you know the coach is right for you? Well, try some sessions together. Most coaches will be open to having a trial period before committing to a longer-term plan.
So there you have it, after matching the coach’s competencies and values to yours, you’ll have to try it out and see whether it works. If there’s a click and you can build a professional relationship, you’re likely to have found yourself a good coach to work with. This is only the start of course, but this three-step plan can certainly boost your chances of success.
If you want to listen to the full podcast, where Joyce goes into detail on how coaches can elevate their coaching, and how athletes can get the most out of their staff, hit the link below!
You can download the podcast on any of the big hosting services, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify, or just use this link: https://scienceforsport.fireside.fm/84
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