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Developing Mentally Strong Athletes

Being labelled as mentally tough is the highest compliment any athlete can receive, mental toughness is not a quality that individuals are born with it, it is an attitude that must be learned or adapted, a positive mindset that changes perspective and increases production. The most influential or ideal people to help and teach young athletes to develop this special talent, philosophy or ability are parents and coaches. It is a balance between ability, tolerating setbacks and staying mentally strong. Most coaches call it a priceless gift that influences the athlete’s whole life and not just his attitude towards his sports career.

Sports are Fun

There are a few specific outlooks or attitudes that should be communicated to younger athletes; the first and most important of those is that sports are fun. Whether a match results in a win or a loss the match itself remains a fun activity enjoyed with the rest of the team. Every teammate or athlete should enjoy every second of participation and the most important thing to imprint in young athletes’ mindsets is that winning is not a measure of enjoyment.

That Worth Achieving Rarely Comes Easy

The process of achieving mastery is challenging, long and often requires commitment, hours of practice and exercise, as well as a positive “, can do” attitude. The coach famed for leading the Green Bay Packers to victory, Vince Lombardi, often refers to the saying that the only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary. The price of success is hard work. To master any sport requires practice, more practice and them some practice.

Mistakes Are a Vital Part of Mastering any Sport

Whether in life or sport, mistakes are a vital part of learning, without them we won’t learn as fast or a much, legendary UCLA coach, John Wooden sees mistakes as the stepping stones to success and achievement. It is important that coaches emphasise to athletes that making mistakes is better than avoiding the opportunity to shine, they are performance enhancements and shows where improvement and adjustment are needed. There is only one mistake in sports and life, and that is the failure to learn from our experiences.

What Really Counts is Effort

Highly successful coaching includes praise and emphasis on both efforts and the outcome, repeatedly communicating to athletes that their efforts are as important as the outcome is vitally important in motivating teams. Youngsters react on both their coaches’ words and actions, and therefore all efforts should be acknowledged in the same important light as winning results are.

Worth Should Never Be Confused with Performance

Young athletes should be sure of the fact that their performance in sport or their academic performances is not what identify their worth. Coaches play an important role as they should show athletes that they accept all unconditionally no matter the result, the effort and being part of the team is always acknowledged. By showing young athletes that even the coach has failures and mistakes, which he/she gracefully accepts, teach young children that everyone is fallible humans and that we move past mistakes to reach new heights via the lessons we learned from it.

Fun & Engaging Coaching Sessions are an Artform

Coaching made fun is what everyone wants it to be, yet it is a bit harder than most think. You need to provide an environment in which players want to be, but at the same time you need to train them to do their best and to achieve all this requires a few pointers, so here is what the experts say.

Enjoyable Sport Coaching


It all starts by asking a few questions, during training you need to answer whether you think it is fun and if the players enjoy the session. You also need to answer the question that should you have been part of the session would you enjoy it, basically the coach needs to step into the shoes of the trainees. If the answer on any one of the above questions is negative, the next question would be how to change it. By coaching younger children, it is much easier to bring an element of fun into the training session, where it could be a bit more challenging when the team is older. Yet the fun element is almost naturally part when the group are familiar with each other and comfortable in the company of the entire team.

Team Challenges

Primary school aged sports coaching is ideal for bringing in little friendly challenges, this is to get the initiative going on how to succeed in every session, it helps develop the physical skills of the team. Many coaches use this technique to identify natural leaders who thrive when it comes to both the psychological and decision-making aspects of the sport. Coaching includes identifying what type of player each of the participants is and then to place them in an environment where they feel slightly challenged, just enough to keep them interested in the sport but at the same time to make them feel needed and comfortable.

Let it Flow During Practise

It is always best not to overdue structured training, by staying away from drills it could be a lot easier to implement a natural flow. Before practice starts in full swing allow players to have some free time interacting with each other and the ball. It is also a great time to have a quick joke or two going as it sets the tone for the remainder of the training session. Discuss something of interest and make sure everyone is comfy before the session starts in all seriousness, and at the end discuss the session and get their opinion.

Team Interaction is Most Important

More vital than any planning of the training is to provide players with a session that is engaging and that increase interaction amongst the team and you. It is vital that the coach get to know each of the players individually and the more the team interact, the better they will know each other. Everyone should know mistakes will happen, they good as it gives you and the team reason to brainstorm together about you will eliminate these from happening during matches.

Coaching Young Children

One of the mentality epidemics that most multi-skilled coaches are eager to change is the “I Can’t Do” attitudes of society. Training, coaching and directing young children towards a “Can Do” attitude is what most aims for and sport coaching opens-up the opportunity to do just that.

There is a major danger that young children will struggle to catch-up, be left only on the starting blocks or will be completely lost from the enjoyment of sports altogether. This is only one of the areas where school have a major role to play, teachers have access to every single child in the country and it is here where the foundation of any strong nation can be built, it is like doing all the preparation, laying the strongest possible foundation to build a strong house that will be rock solid through life.

Sports Couches Supply Young Children with Fundamental Building Blocks

In the sports world, the most important people are coaches who are perfectly placed to offer their proteges with everything needed and they are the ones laying the fundamental building blocks, it is here where sports stars get the kick needed to reach their full potential. What leads to longer-term success and ability is multi-skill upbringing. Essentials to the upbringing of young children are travelling, stability, catching a ball and throwing balls. By allowing younger children to develop a range of skills, it improves their balance and coordination, speed and stamina, flexibility and agility as well as their power and strength. It readies them for a life in sports, improves their performances and at the same time, it influences the choices they make in the future.

It is a “Can Do” Attitude that Changes All

Sports coaches agree that the above skill-development is vital, yet what makes everything possible is a “Can Do” attitude. If young children believe they can do anything they are more open to try anything, which includes sports, academic achievements and how they approach their futures. Developing a positive mindset changes all, it makes it easier to get a new idea across and it provides the young child to look forward to learning new skills such as jumping, catching and throwing. Due to the variety of electronic entertainment available, young people quickly get caught up in games that gives them the feel of achievement, should they feel positive about themselves from an early age and learn how to use their physical skills, chances are they will never exchange the social aspect of sports and the great outdoors to hide indoors with a video game.

No Feeling is as Good as Being Outdoors, Partaking in an Action Sport

Coaches want younger children to get hooked on the high only sports can provide, since once they get accustomed to the feeling there is nothing to top it. Many younger athletes have a fear of rackets, how to use balls and by being open-minded they can master all these skills quickly and become the self-assured young people they ought to be.

The Habits of Highly Effective Coaching

The great philosopher Aristotle once stated, “We are what we do repeatedly. Therefore, excellence is not an act but merely a habit”. With that being the case, what exactly are the habits of highly effective coaching? What are the factors that sensational coaches do every single day to make them so great?

1. Make training more demanding and more challenging than the competition the athletes are targeting.

World-class coaches are well aware that competition is the last place to find out where the athletes mental and physical limits are. It’s for this reason that training needs to be more demanding and more challenging, emotionally, tactically, technically, mentally, and physically than the competition the athlete is preparing for.

2. Develop and learn as a coach at a faster pace than the athlete.

Renowned coaches quickly realise that success is all about a moving target and that the primary goal is to stay relevant by committing to continuous improvement, honest professional and personal evaluation, and life-long learning.

3. Accelerate the rate of learning in a quicker time frame than your opposition.

The introduction of the internet has insured that there’s no longer any secrets in the world of sport. This means that everyone essentially knows what you know and anyone can obtain anything at anytime from anywhere and its absolutely free. Learning something new everyday is what everyone is doing and phenomenal coaches are aware of this and always strive to accelerate their learning curve in a quicker manner than their opposition.

4. Enhance your thinking skills creatively

Creativity is the key difference between being a good coach and a phenomenal coach. A good coach can easily follow a program, while phenomenal coaches invent them. This allows coaches to create new ideas and new directions which will completely change the sport. Always remember that copying kills and if you decide to follow others or simply duplicate their success, it will eventually turn into a recipe for disaster.

5. Embark on individual coaching

Every significant moment in a sporting event, regardless of the sport, is person on person. There’s no more true team sporting events left. With performance analysis calculating at fractions of seconds and millimetres, every athlete’s weaknesses and strengths are known by the opposition. World-class coaches constantly engage with athletes by inspiring them. To successfully inspire them, they prepare the athlete with passion and help them realise their full potential.

6. Ensure every athlete prepares themselves in every aspect for the opposition.

The days of winning a game or match by having the fittest athlete are long gone. Sport is considered so multi-dimensional that victory stems from being the very best in every possible aspect, including nutrition, travel management, sleep, gym-training, recovery, attitude, skills, preparation, training, etc. World-class coaches are well aware of this fact and always strive to develop winning environments.

7. Adapt your training programs and plans to optimise the impact of each athlete at each and every training session.

The world’s best coaches plan meticulously and with remarkable attention to detail. However, they also fully understand that the primary goal is to ensure the training session offers optimal opportunities for the athletes to be fully prepared.

Women versus Men Coaching

Many have asked this question. This is one that has crossed the mind of many sports enthusiast but is there any major differences when it comes to men coaching versus women who coach sports. It is a controversial topic one that can unleash hours of constructive disagreement and dialogue, yet it also a topic that needs to be explored.

Coachability Female vs Male

This is where sportsmen need to take a step back as women tend to be more coachable and more adaptable than males. Many sports coaches agree that female athletes accept new techniques easier and are especially open to anything that boosts performance. When it comes to respect females give their coaches a lot of respect instead of making their coach prove credibility, they are also far more appreciative and express their gratitude more willingly. It is female athletes that strive to impress their coaches and is much easier motivated.

Sportsmen are convinced of their ability, which makes them less coachable. Male athletes feel they know the sport as well as their own power and often dismisses what coaches suggests and at times question the coach’s credibility, so often male coaches need to prove themselves. It is not unheard of that male athlete’s brace against the coach, but to be fair, it also depends on the coaching approach, in case a coercive style is used it is known that male athletes will seek ways to prove the coach wrong, in the same situation female athletes shut down. But then again coercive coaching in many instances can yield desired short-term results.

Male vs Female Confidence

For any athlete confidence is critical, and both women and male can struggle with it, although it seems woman struggle most with it, and have a tough time even when they become elite athletes. While confidence in male athletes almost comes naturally as men are taught toughness and confidence from an early age.

How Male vs Female Athletes Handle Criticism

Male athletes depersonalise criticism in general, which forces coaches to be more specific and once sportsmen realise the criticism is directed at them they tend to fight it. Females always think the criticism is aimed at them, even when it is not, and they are a lot more sensitive to all comments made by the coach. It is probably in criticism where the biggest difference between male/female coaching is visible and even during matches females takes any loud tones or blunt language from the opposition as a personal attack.

Female/Male Athlete Chemistry

In both genders, chemistry is majorly important although it is again even more so for females. Each of the female athletes wants to feel connected to everyone on the team, while male athletes are less concerned about chemistry. This demands that coaches of female athletes are sensitive to the team’s social cohesion, while male coaches need to focus on task cohesion and making sure everyone is committed to the same goal, embraces their roles and are on the same page.

Mental Health Action Plan Improves Elite Athlete Support

A new mental health action plan was recently unveiled by the UK Government, its aim is to improve the support available to elite sportsmen and women. Due to the new action plan both support staff and coaches will receive additional training to identify the signs of mental health problems in athletes.The new mental health strategy will improve awareness as well as promote the mental wellbeing of athletes while at the same time provide the National Governing Bodies with the information needed to properly access clinical and sports psychologists. Elite sports must by 2024 implement the mental health procedures as part of its performance plans as well as offer all athlete’s clear pathways to access the assistance they need via professional mental health support.

Athletes funded by the National Lottery will also be encouraged to make use of the action plan by visiting mental health units to help break down and improve the stigma around mental health. Part of the plan is also to embed good mental health practice at the grassroots level. Should Sports England succeed with ingraining mental wellbeing via a strategy that includes teaching mental health welfare alongside athlete physical training it could change sports around the globe?

Could Mental Health Action Have Impact Worldwide

Developed by the Minister who also hosted roundtable a year ago, one with the elite athletes across all aspects of British sport and the other with mental health organisations, the conclusion was that an action plan could improve the support available to elite sports stars.

Civil Society and Sports Minister, Tracy Crouch shared that sport has a positive impact on individuals mental health, it is when a sport is your main income and thousands of fans depend on your performance, the enormous pressure athletes are under to succeed, can become too much. The action plan sees mental health and sports organisations work closely together to provide athletes with the correct support well in advance and before the situation reach crisis point.

First Ever Mental Health Action Plan for Elite Sports Professionals

The Chief Executive of Mind, Paul Farmer feels that the mental health action plan is an important step in ensuring that elite athlete can easily access support and help for their mental health, clear objectives are set in the plan. He also shared his delight that both Civil Society and the Minister of Sport is actively involved in the action plan. In the UK, and probably worldwide, one in four are affected by a mental health problem and professional sportswoman and men are no different. There has been an increase in sportspeople coming forward to reveal mental problems such as anxiety and depression, which confirmed the urgent need for an action plan. Still, no one knows how many athletes are still struggling in silence even though more and more are speaking out and asking for help regarding their mental health problems. The first step is to offer elite athletes a safe-haven to discuss any symptoms at an early as possible stage, to then enjoy the care and attention needed and to get the situation under control.

Selecting A Sports Coach Who Rises Above All

Choosing just one of the greatest sports coaches of all time is a massive task no matter which sport you’re passionate about, and when the New York Times tried to select one, it failed as they halted their search once these names came up. It’s impossible since how do you choose when the names include the NFL star Vince Lombardi, College football super-star Larry Kehres, Scotty Bowman a master in hockey coaching, tennis’s Richard Williams, soccer’s Alex Ferguson, and then still need to add College basketball’s Pat Simmitt.

Alex Ferguson Did Remarkable Things for Soccer


Long before Alex Ferguson became a household name or started filling up the trophy case of Manchester United, he was already doing remarkable things for Scotland’s St. Mirren team as a soccer coach. As he took over the running of the club in 1974, by 1977, he led the team to a title win in the first division only one rung below that of the top league.

Ferguson moved to Aberdeen by 1979, which was a respected club in Scotland but hardly the match for the perennial powers of the Rangers or Celtic. By 1983 he achieved astonishing results by leading Aberdeen to its first European title over Real Madrid as his team claimed the Winners’ Cup the powerhouse of Spain. Just with the list of achievements mentioned up to now, it makes for an illustrious career in sports coaching. Yet for Ferguson, it was never enough, and he went on to do remarkable things for the mighty Manchester United team during his twenty-seven years at the helm. Ferguson retired at age 76 as the manager of Manchester United and during his years pushed the team to win thirty-eight trophies.

Sir Alex Ferguson

It is easy to vote for Ferguson when it comes to the greatest manager and greatest coach in history as he not only qualifies in soccer but also in any other sport on any continent. In 1999 Alex Ferguson was knighted and became Sir Alex Ferguson, it was also the year in which he famously won the Champions League, FA Cup and Premier League.

When it comes to Sir Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United Trophies you start understanding the real impact he had on the powerful team.

• Premier League Trophies:
• 2013, 2011 2009, 2008, 2007, 2003, 2000, 1999, 1997, 1996, 1994 and 1993
• FA Cup Trophies: 2004, 1999, 1996, 1994, 1990
• League Cup Trophies: 2010, 2009, 2006, 1992
• Champion League Trophies: 2008, 1999
• Cup Winners Cup Trophy: 1991
• UEFA Super Cup Trophy: 1992
• FIFA Club World Cup Trophy: 2008
• Inter-Continental Cup Trophy: 1999
• FA Charity & Community Shield:
• 1011, 2010, 2008, 2007, 2003, 1997, 1994, 1993 (shared)

Sir Ferguson’s playing career started when he made his debut as a 16-year-old striker with Queen’s Park. According to him, the first match was an absolute nightmare, although he scored a goal in the 2-1 defeat against the Stranraer’s. He went on to score 20 goals in 31 games for his very first team.

Should Men and Women Receive the Same Kind of Coaching?

While coaching shouldn’t be a gendered activity, it does go without saying that men and women are a bit different in a few areas. To put it simply, women are not just men in skirts, and while they can complete the same task on the field, the two genders do act differently regarding their mindsets, behavioural choices, preferences, communication styles, and even how they view the world. However, this is something vital that many coaches miss on instead of tailoring their coaching habits to suit the personal needs of each player better, they seem to disregard the gender aspect. This is not to say that women cannot play as impressively on the field compared to men, but the coaching and advice given to the female players should vary from advice given to male players.

If you’re a coach reading this, and you are still a bit confused onto why you should slowly start to practice tailoring your coaching style for male and female players, listed below are a few reasons which could serve as a motivation on your side.

Positive Transformation Requires Different Approaches

Research from a countless number of studies has shown that at a base level, women and men are different – especially when regarding their professional success, how they view happiness, and rewards. Typically, female players have a different viewpoint on an array of areas that may differ from the male players, such as their work-life balance, ultimate goals, leadership needs, and the impact they want to make in their personal lives and while playing on the field. To put it simply, you may have a solid approach with your male players which can motivate them to perform their best and improve their skills, that same approach may not work as efficiently on female players. This is not a way of saying you should go easy on them in any way – but as a coach, you should consider viewing the players as individuals and relate how you motivate them in a way that is relatable to their lives.

Though as any great coach should know, coaching is not like a pair of pants that has a “one size fits all” sticker. Instead of just focusing on the gender of the players, which can cause some issues. Instead, you view each player as someone who has the same goal in mind of being great and leading the team to success while still being their own people. Plus, one of the best ways to get more comfortable with this idea if to mentor a female only team or become friends with coaches who work mainly with female players. This will give you a broader approach as you would have the extra experience of working with the players and seeing the variety they can come in. Coaching is deeper than having a single plan of coaching. It’s all about operation, motivation, and tailoring your skills for the betterment of each player on the team.

Significance of Safety Equipment is in Exercise and Sports

While activities such as walking require little equipment, other physical activities require the correct equipment for the prevention of injuries. Most importantly the equipment required need to be in good conditions especially when it comes to sports helmets. Sporting injuries can involve either over-use or traumatic injuries, of with the latter occurs suddenly and show in most cases instant signs of injury via bruising, swelling or pain. These injuries could be caused by internal factors such as a muscle pull while others happen due to external factors such as the collision with another person.

External injuries can also be caused by equipment in which the most common are blisters caused by using new shoes or a new racket. Injuries can also occur via accidents and the main aim of taking safety precautions is to prevent accidents. Some sports activities have a much higher risk of injury than others, in ice skating or dancing there is the risk of slipping, or a performer dropping his/her partner. Outdoor activities are in most cases riskier especially challenging activities such as rock climbing, skiing or canoeing. Internal injury causes build up over an extended period, which makes them more challenging to diagnose and some that are quite common includes stress fractures, shin splints, tennis and golfer’s elbow.

Properly fitting Footwear

Wearing the correct footwear is important no matter the physical activity since most boots or sports shoes provide cushioning and blisters is most common when footwear is not a proper and comfortable fit. It is most important to replace footwear that is worn-out no matter whether you’re a runner, cyclist or rock-climber as it prevents sprains and twists.

Mouth Guards and Gum Shield Protection

Mainly worn in action and contact sport such as boxing, rugby, hockey or soccer, mouth guards protect the mouth and the face. It is highly important that it should be made by a dentist to ensure the mouth guard fits properly and offers the best protection.

Protective Padding in Sports Activities

In physical sports such as American Football, hockey, football or cricket players are protected via several forms of padding to prevent injury. In cricket, participants wear gloves, arm pads, leg pads and helmets as well as a box guard to protect them during wicket keeping or batting. Hockey players and footballers wear padding in the form of shin pads, while goalkeepers wear body pads, helmets and leg pads as protection. It is most important that the pads are placed correctly to be effective.

Outdoor Safety Equipment

Individuals who partake in outdoor sporting events normally use additional safety equipment, sailors and canoeists wear life jackets and buoyancy aids to assist in the case where they land in the water. Mountaineers and rock-climbers use harnesses with safety ropes attached to help in case of a slip or fall. Safety equipment is vital whether individuals follow a fitness plan or participates in any form of spots since a single injury can knock back your fitness for months.

Some of the Best Sports Coaches Gives Their Advice

Over the years, there have been numerous lists of the best coaches who led their teams to success. While the success comes from a smooth cohesiveness of the coaching staff and the players – some of the top coaches are giving some words of advice that any coach can take into consideration and apply it to themselves and their teams.

Joe Girardi


One of the best examples comes from Joe Girardi, the coach of the New York Yankees who helped the team win their 27th championship title. He has a well-known record of winning over 500 games while being a manager, though, there is a science behind his constant stream of success other than having fantastic players. Girardi admits that he always tells his players before a game to listen to their guts rather than sticking to the plan. To put it simply, he is a strong believer in the belief that overthinking causes more bad than good – if you are prepared, playing and adapting is going to become a second instinct on the field. Girardi continues that this information can be applied for both rookies and professional stars. He believes that the coach must lead by example and ensure that the players are prepared both physically and mentally before each game, while also knowing their strong and weak points.

Bela Karolyi


Bela Karolyi is the pro at adapting to a player’s needs as the gymnasts who trained under him have earned a total of nine gold medals at the Olympics. Karolyi thinks that ensuring that you teach each team player an in individual as they all have different characters and respond differently to different coaching techniques. He happily reminiscence about a few of the girls he coached, such as the stark comparison between Nadia Comaneci who was like a racehorse ready to go, while on the other hand, Kerri Strug was softer and needed the reinforcement of her skills to be successful. Just having a different approach to a one on one with the players can drastically affect how they perform when its time to go – and most of the time if the coach has tailored their approach, it can lead to trophies and gold medals.

Sir Alex Ferguson


Sir Alex Ferguson name may ring a bell as he is one of the legendary coaches who managed Manchester United. During an interview, he decided to reveal some of his tips which lead the team to the successful reign it had. One of the main things he noticed that it’s only a few players that get better with criticism, the approach of trying to be more encouragement has shown a countless amount of times to result in better gameplay and higher motivation. Even when he must correct a player, he would do it at the moment and move on instead of the constant berating which is commonplace.

Ferguson admitted that observing was the saving grace. Watching if a player changed in any way easily helped Ferguson step into the place and ask what was going on – what changed to cause a change in the playing ability. Most times, just showing this kind of concern can easily nip a player going into a hole and losing their spark.