Sample Sports Paper on Effective Communication with Today’s Athletes

Effective Communication with Today’s Athletes

Why the topic is important and reason for choosing it

            The topic “Effective communication with today’s athletes” is important because success in all the spheres of life revolves around effective communication skills. Likewise, to get the best from athletes either as a coach or trainer, one needs to be an effective communicator. For communication to be effective, the transmitted content should be received and understood by the receptor in the way it was intended (Pedersen, Laucella, Kian & Geurin, 2016). In the athletes’ case, the message being delivered should be interpreted in a manner that will change behavior or bring the best out of the individual. Effective communication also helps one avoid common pitfalls in communication that often bring fallouts between athletes and the trainers. Some coaches often make the mistake of favoring some specific athletes whom they think they are better than others. This usually brings problems in the training camp as some will openly defy him owing to the earlier misunderstandings (Pedersen et al., 2016). For this reason, it is important for the trainer always to avoid situations that bring barriers in communication. 

Pedersen et al. (2016) argue that there is no single element of coaching more important than communication, and this, highlights the importance of the above topic. Further research shows that for a team to be successful, the players must have proper systems of communication among themselves. Proper communication dictates that all the players should have and beware of their specified roles while the trainer should set goals and at the same time take pride in each player’s accomplishments. These are only possible if there is an effective system of communication between the athletes and the players (Pedersen et al., 2016).  Therefore, the topic is important as it points out the right communication strategies that will ensure the successful performance of a team and at the same time it shows the common communication mistakes that should be avoided. It is also important to note that the communication skills that were used in the 80’s might not be successful with today’s athletes with the evolution in technology. Athletes are aware of their rights and unless a coach devices relevant communication strategy, they might not be successful.

One of the reasons for the selection or choice of this topic is that from a trainee coach perspective, it is believed that a good coach must understand the needs of trainers. The possibility of meeting these needs is determined by the existence of proper communication between the parties involved (Miles, 2003). At one time, I had an interactive session with teenage athletes who experienced burnout. After the session, I learned that physical exhaustion is not the primary factor that contributed to burn-outs but rather the poor communication in place. Based on this, I concluded that effective communication is necessary if athletes are to produce their best. Coaches affect or have an influence on the lives of athletes, and therefore, most of them are viewed as role models by athletes (Pedersen et al., 2016).  People often look up to role models who are always expected to be in control of situations, and this is also expected of coaches. Moreover, it should be noted that growth and development in every context including training must be accompanied by mistakes, and to address these mistakes, effective communication becomes fundamental.

Effective Communication in Coaching

To be a good coach, a person must have a clear understanding of what effective communication with players entails. From a personal viewpoint, as a coach, I need to understand players by learning their strengths, weaknesses, hopes, fears, and performance levels. This can be possible if I have a good working relationship with them, which will ensure they are free to open up whenever they face challenges. Moreover, unlike other coaches, I plan to use this topic in coaching as it enhances my listening skills that are needed in the coaching role. Excellent listening skills mean that as a coach, I can handle a situation before it gets out of hand.

Research shows that during the communication process, 90 percent of information is often conveyed nonverbally (Pedersen et al., 2016). This means that as a coach, I must pay attention the elements of nonverbal communication that might come up during interactions with players. One of these elements is eye contact, which is important in communication as it provides the opportunity to gauge the level of interest in what is being discussed. Before a team meeting, it is necessary to create a friendly and tension-free atmosphere for effective communication. To be a successful coach, the language used when addressing the athletes should be understandable and free of unnecessary jargon but most importantly should not be offensive to one’s gender. Gender discriminative language may change the athletes’ perspective of the coach which might later sabotage one’s career. Most importantly, to communicate effectively with athletes, I need to devise my unique coaching style that is player-centered. This kind of approach focuses on the athlete’s view and decisions rather than the coach’s tell-sell idea to the players. The problem with tell-sell ideas is that they lock out players’ opinions and suggestions, which might be found beneficial in the long run.

A trainer’s ideas might be outdated, and therefore, embracing a player-centered approach is important. A coach-centered approach also exhibits authority, especially when passing tactics and ideas that may create a barrier to the flow of communication (Miles, 2003).  The question and answer technique, on the other hand, enables a coach to elicit a correct technical diagnosis based on the players’ views. At the same time, this method encourages the players to develop their powers of observation and critical analysis (Pedersen et al., 2016). Good coaching entails getting athletes to appreciate and devise their knowledge of the game.

How the topic promotes the idea of positive coaching and learning life lessons on the field of competition and life

Today’s athletes measure success based on how many wins they have at the end of the playing season. This has led to the modern mentality of “win at all cost,” which has been brought about by the entertaining nature of sports. A good coach should instill discipline and positivity in players, what can be achieved through encouraging and prioritizing their interests. A coach should be able to pass the message that sport builds and reforms an athlete’s character thereby teaching them life lessons (Thompson, 2003). Positive coaching focuses on improving a player’s whole being, both in the field and character-wise, making those better people in the society whom others can emulate. Positive coaching can be accomplished with the help of parents and fans. Psychology experts argue that athletes who focus on things they can control are more anxious and better performers (Anshel, 2011).  With effective communication, a coach can teach the players that it is not wrong to make mistakes and that to be admirable players, they must exhibit emotional stability. In one way or the other, this promotes the idea of positive coaching.A good coach should also use positive criticism in a helpful manner and appreciate players’ efforts as these play an integral role in boosting player confidence (Thompson, 2003).  Through proper communication, emphasized in this topic, a coach can help athletes to focus on achievable perspectives rather than what is beyond their control. Based on this, this topic has significant lessons on the need to focus on things that are achievable in real life.

To sum up, positive coaching creates athletes with respect for all, and therefore, it contributes towards making the sports world better. Through proper communication, a good coach will ensure that his team practices the adage of being humble in victory and gracious in defeat.  This shows respect for rules, opponents, and all participants in a game indicating the influence of positive coaching.  It should also be noted that with positive coaching, insults, the unnecessary pressure put on players, and hooliganism that is evident in the world of sports will be done away with. Instead, it creates sober environments where people respect one another and where performance levels are not determined by the urge to win a game but by how fair a game ought to be.

References

Anshel, M. H. (2011). Sport psychology: From theory to practice. Pearson Higher Ed.

Miles, A., & Sports Coach UK. (2003). What is sports coaching?. Armley, Leeds: Coach wise.

Pedersen, P. M., Laucella, P., Kian, E., & Geurin, A. (2016). Strategic Sports Communication, 2E. Human Kinetics.

Thompson, J. (2003). The double-goal coach: Positive coaching tools for honoring the game and developing winners in sports and life. New York: HarperCollins Publishers.