Why Coaching and Team Culture Are Essential to Athletic Success

Being an athlete is a 24-hour job. It’s not just about the time spent training, it’s also about the carefully crafted nutrition and training plans, getting enough rest, mastering performance anxiety, and keeping motivated throughout it all.

But athletes don’t have to do it alone. A sports coach can provide comprehensive support, expertise, and accountability.

Coaching, as my colleague Dr. Kent Bradley puts it, involves recognizing that each person has their own unique starting point and desired destination and thus drawing from an individual’s strengths to help them reach their particular goal.

Coaching athletes or anyone who needs help achieving a specific physical goal involves much more than simply providing a training plan. Good coaching involves getting to know the athlete, respecting their feelings, and finding a way to inspire confidence and get them motivated. The following tips will help to boost the performance of both the athlete and the coach.

7 Things A Coach Can Do to Help Athletes Perform Better

1. Master the art of communication.

Be clear and direct. Have regular conversations with your athletes. Knowing them will allow you to make a solid physical, nutritional, and emotional game plan.

2. Be a good listener.

Listen to athletes and ask questions so that you fully understand their goals and desires.

3. Be transparent.

Let the athletes know where they are at, based on your assessment, and what it’s going to take to get them closer to their goal.

4. Create a simple and clear game.

The plan should be holistic, covering the physical training, nutritional expectations, and emotional development plan.

5. Create an accountability contract.

Not only will this help to keep athletes on track, but it’s also a great motivation tool. Having metrics and goals can fuel athletes’ competitive nature and make them give it their best.

6. Make the training plan a living document.

The plan is not set on stone: redefine and reassess it every week based on performance metrics and verbal feedback.

7. Reward and praise the small wins along the way.

Recognition is something that drives many people to work hard and stay consistent.

The Importance of Having a Team Culture

Though coaching is an essential component for athletes’ success, so is having a solid team culture. Whether it’s a soccer team or just a team made up of a coach and an athlete, it is important to be knowledgeable and consistent with what a team culture involves:

Values

Honesty, loyalty, commitment, reliability, and positivity are some of the most important core values that influence the overall culture. A team must have a code of conduct to ensure everyone is on the same page.

Beliefs

The beliefs of the team are statements about what we believe to be true. The teams’ philosophy is made up of set beliefs and everyone subscribing to them creates a positive environment.

Goals

Team culture is influenced by everyone pushing toward a common goal and ensuring that our personal goals are not pursued at the expense of the team.

Attitudes

How we think, feel, and behave can influence culture. A positive and optimistic attitude is of great benefit in a sporting environment.

Leadership

The power of influence is very real in a team setting and a leader who is a servant to the team will help guide everyone to adopt values, beliefs, goals, and attitudes to create a positive environment/culture.

A sports coach will make athletes deepen their self-knowledge, seeking to promote personal development. The coach is of great help, but so are the ties between the team. These links will contribute to increased motivation through feedback from members. This way, the entire team will be motivated to achieve their goals and objectives.

Samantha ClaytonOLY, ISSA-CPT – Vice President, Worldwide Sports Performance and Fitness

Samantha Clayton represented Great Britain at the 2000 Sydney Olympics in both the 200m and the 4x100m relay events. She is a certified personal trainer with specialty certifications in group fitness, youth fitness programming, senior fitness and athletic conditioning. She has direct responsibility for all activities relating to exercise and fitness education for Herbalife Nutrition independent distributors and employees.