Without question, I have found that most, if not all high performing coaches, have an infectious energy behind their coaching.
Coaches with ‘energy’ are more engaging, more compelling and more ‘present.’
You can feel, hear and see a coaches energy right from the start. They have a ‘presence’ which commands attention and focus. They have a much greater chance of sustaining their athletes concentration, and in return are far better motivators and engineers of the environment which they are working in.
If you don’t have energy, you can’t share it.
This skill, this ‘quality’ is what can separate good and great coaches.
There are an abundance of coaches who have sound technical knowledge of the sport. It’s easily accessible, quick to learn and relatively simple to adopt. Changing coaching habits and behaviour however, requires self awareness, drive and action to be taken.
Just take a comedian’s ability to use and manipulate language and body language to make the unfunny absolutely hilarious. It’s not the words themselves, but their expert ability to deliver the message in a compelling, engaging and humorous manner that magnetises the audience. This is energy and engagement.
Firstly, let’s look at some key factors that could be used to identify a coach with low energy and engagement with their athletes: (please note that this is not an exhaustive list, neither do the attributes listed below necessarily suggest poor coaching or bad practice)
Monotone in their voice, never varying in tone, pitch or volume, often quiet
Closed body language
Standing distant from their athletes when coaching
Sitting down whilst coaching
Standing in the same place each and every time you visit an apparatus (most coaches always stand/sit in the same spot every session, do you?)
Using the same feedback methods, language and drills, never changing the stimulus for the athlete
Does not set out clear goals for training
Appears generally lacking of motivation
In contrast are the following qualities that a compelling coach with a high level of energy and engagement could demonstrate:
Varied pitch, tonality and volume of their voice
Open, confident and approachable body language
Always standing, moving around and never in a predictable spot to watch training
A varied style of delivering feedback
Asks the athlete questions to test their focus and understanding of their own performance (athlete empowerment)
Unpredictable, (yet still consistent) approach to their coaching methodology and progressions
Sets clear goals and objectives for the session so each athlete is task orientated and practicing with purpose
Is proactive in their instructions, clearly leading the session as opposed to being reactive with feedback based on athlete performance.
Manipulating music choice can be a key factor to how much energy the environment has also, and should not be overlooked, in conjunction with a great warm up to set the tone for the session.
Owning the energy in the gym will ensure you command the attention and motivation of your athletes. If you can identify an area to improve looking at one of the above lists, perhaps try an alternative approach within a training session and evaluate the impact it has on your results!
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