Coaching Tip #3


Enhancing athletes’ self image

Self-image refers to how people see themselves. It is molded by the reactions of others - parents, peers and coaches, for example - and further shaped by experiences in life. People’s view of themselves strongly affects motivation, learning, athletic performance and personal relationships.

The two most important things you as a coach can do to help athletes develop a positive self-image are to care about them and to manage them positively.

Show you care by:
• Calling them by name
• Paying them personal, individual attention
• Asking about them, their interests and families
• Praising good effort, good behavior, good performance - all the “goods”
• Encouraging them after a “mistake”
• Making them feel important as people
• Feeling accepted should never depend only on an athlete’s performance

Manage athletes positively by:
• Emphasizing their self-responsibility, giving them time to try things, practice skills and show what they can do well
• Showing confidence in their ability to take on and master tasks
• Encouraging them to ask questions and make suggestions, and by listening to them
• Making sure tasks are appropriate for their stage of development and ability
• Encouraging them to give each other positive comments
• Supporting them during difficulties
• Applying a clear set of rules fairly and consistently
• Dealing appropriately with unacceptable behavior (do not use physical punishment like extra work)

Remember, if you expect good things of people, good things tend to happen.