How should coaches best manage problem athletes?
Building strong relationships is a key plank of successful coaching but is especially important when it comes to problem athletes.
That’s the opinion of a leading strength and conditioning coach, who believes coaches need to display honesty and vulnerability when dealing with athletes who display problematic behaviour.
Cole Hergott — Head Strength & Conditioning Coach at Trinity Western University in Langley, BC, Canada — says dealing with difficult athletes is one of his profession’s trickiest tasks, but there are tools to make things easier.
“Problem athletes are common on most teams – they pose a challenge to your normal work environment and you need to address it to protect team culture and prevent negative influences,” Hergott, who has a Master’s Degree in Coaching Science, said during his Science for Sport presentation titled ‘Coaching Problematic Athletes.’
“A problem athlete can be someone who is uncoachable, self-centred, argumentative or just someone who is tough to deal with and can lead others astray. It is something as a coach you need to address because it’s our job to develop these athletes and people. If you don’t try to improve them, they’ll pull others down.
“Research shows a strong coach-athlete relationship can increase motivation, work ethic and positive mindset.”