Sport Psychology 5 Skills Every Coach Should Know

April 19, 2015, in Sport Psychology

Sport Psychology

One of the most important skills that a coach can develop is personal leadership. While as a coach, you are put into a role that deems a significant amount of guidance and responsibility.

Therefore athletes will observe all your positive attributes but also your downfalls. And developing a set of leadership skills that will help athletes improve both in sport and personal endeavors is crucial.


“Make no doubt about it, athletes not only need effective leadership, they also desire it. So young people want consistent parameters


  • direction
  • order structure
  • organization
  • discipline.


They need it whether they know it or not. It gives them security. And that, in turn, helps them to be more confident.” (Dorfman, 2003)

Blog: “Qualities of a quality leader.”


Sport Psychology: Imagery

Sport Psychology

Imagery has been the focus of a great deal of research over recent years.

And results consistently lead us to believe that the successful implementation of imagery techniques directly and positively affects sports performance.

Also, by developing these techniques. We enable our athletes to experience a variety of competition settings mentally. So that when the time comes, they will be prepared to perform at their highest level.


“Although it is still not clear why, imagery frequently predicts behaviors: Imagining disaster or success at work, in relationships, or in sport often leads to that outcome. Taking control of our imaginations is vital if we are to manage our behavior effectively, particularly in sport.”


Sport Psychology: Self-confidence

Sport Psychology

Even without research, most would argue the importance of confidence in sport and life.

Hence it is a feeling that, when experienced, can make or break one’s performance.

Consequently, feeling confident gives an athlete the ability to believe in “I can” rather than “I can’t,” which often determines whether that belief becomes a reality.

While Coaches can help develop an athlete’s confidence by providing positive feedback when the athlete performs well.

And conversely, in the instances where athletes are not performing their best.

Hence sometimes it is equally or more important to build athletes’ confidence when they are struggling. In addition, providing constructive criticism can help athletes learn how to improve. 

And also, giving them the confidence to know they can improve is more important yet.

Sports Psychology: Self-talk

Sport Psychology

A study conducted by David Tod, James Hardy, and Emily Oliver analyzed 47 studies that assessed the relationship between self-talk and performance.

Hence the study suggested positive effects on performance by athletes who were using various forms of self-talk.

Like imagery, oftentimes, what we think directly affects our behavior if we regularly focus on the thoughts that go through our heads.

So we can start to identify the negative thoughts that can lead us to decreased performance.

While on the other hand, we will notice self-talk that is positive and constructive. And will be able to implement those types of thoughts more often.

Teaching athletes how to implement positive self-talk will benefit them (and the team).

Also, Self-talk can increase performance and help the athletes develop a strong sense of self-worth that is an invaluable skill outside of competition.

Blog: “Learn to listen to yourself.”

Sport Psychology: Goal Setting

Goal setting can be a great way to get the team on board and working toward a common outcome or result.

Furthermore, it is important to be SMART when setting goals with your team.

Also, check our Premier Sports Psychology’s recent blog post on setting goals titled.

“He Shoots, He Scores! Setting Goals, Not Just Scoring Them”

S – Specific – Be very clear in your mind exactly what the goal relates to. If there are several aspects, create multiple goals.

M – Measurable – Any goal set should be capable of being measured in some way. If there is no way to measure, there is no way to assess progress. And can use a subjective measuring scale if assessing mental skills, as long as the same scale is used every time.

A – Adjustable – Goal setting is a dynamic process, and sometimes, goals need to be altered. If your team’s progress is faster or slower than you had originally planned, goals will need to be changed to reflect this.

R – Realistic – It is essential to set challenging goals, but not so challenging you never achieve them. As a simple rule, set goals that are sufficiently beyond your present ability to force hard work and persistence. But not so challenging, they are unrealistic. Use your best judgment for what is and is not realistic for your teams.

T – Time-based – All goals should have a specific time period. Without a target date, there is little motivation for the athletes to achieve the goal. There are three time periods for goal

setting: short-term, intermediate-term, and long-term.


  1. Bull, S., Albinson, J., & Shambrook, C. (1996). The mental game plan: Getting psyched for sport. Eastbourne: Sports Dynamics.
  2. Dorfman, H. (2003). Leadership and Power(s). Coaching the mental game: Leadership philosophies and strategies for peak performance in sports, and everyday life (p. 3). Lanham, Maryland: Taylor Trade Publishing.
  3. Morris, T., Spittle, M., & Watt, A. (2005). The imagery in sport. Champaign, Illinois: Human Kinetics.
  4. Tod, D., James, H., & Oliver, E. (2011). Effects of Self-Talk: A Systematic Review. Journal of Sport & Exercise Psychology, 666-687.
  5. Bethany Brausen


“Coaching ABUSE: The dirty, not-so-little secret in sports”


 “Coaching ABUSE: The dirty, not-so-little secret in sports.”

What is wrong with a society that places so much importance on winning in

sports that it blatantly neglects the needs and well-being of the child-athletes that it’s charged with educating and protecting?

Are we that out of touch that we’ve lost our perspective on what really matters in life?

Are too many parents making a “deal with the devil” and turning their

kids over to coaches with questionable methods just because these coaches

supposedly produce “champions?”


As a coach,

  • just how important is winning for you?
  • When your team or athletes win, does that mean that you are doing your job better?
  • Does it make you a more effective coach?
  • Similarly, when your athletes fail, does that mean you are failing?
  • Are your athletes’ and team’s losses concrete evidence of your incompetence?


If you were brutally honest with yourself, could you look in the mirror and answer this question? “Is winning and all that it means to be more important than the mental health and happiness of my child/athletes?” Of course, if you’re a coach reading this, then I couldn’t blame you for responding to my question with horror and righteous indignation.

Who the heck am I to even suggest that you, an adult and professional, would place your needs to be successful over your young athletes’ needs? But, of course, you know that the sport is supposed to be “all about the kids.”

Certainly, you’re fully aware that “it’s only a game.” But, you also know that coaching is all about being a good role model, enhancing self-esteem, and building character.

Furthermore, you know that your number one priority is the welfare and happiness of the kids you coach

A coach doesn’t have to be a rocket scientist to know all this stuff. But then again, who would ever answer “yes” to my question and admit to themselves and others that they regularly place their own needs as an adult and professional over those of the children their supposed to be guiding?

Here’s the problem the way I see it. Because winning has become so important to us as a culture, being “numero uno” has been erroneously equated with coaching success and competence, some of our youth sport, club, high school, and college coaches have forgotten what their real mission as a professional is.

These coaches have come to mistakenly believe that their season’s won-loss outcome is far more important than the process of participation, character development, and safety of their athletes. They believe that an athlete’s performance failure is reflective of a coaching failure.

And why shouldn’t they feel this way when coaches at every level are regularly criticized and fired for not winning enough? When it comes right down to it, though, isn’t the true essence of “good coaching” winning? Isn’t that what NFL Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi used to say: Winning isn’t the most important thing. Is it the only thing?


Athletes Parents 5 Types of Personalities

By Jude Roque, College Hoops expert

Over a month ago, a disturbing photo caught social media’s attention, as an adult man appeared to be hitting teenage soccer player with a solid object.

So it was later on revealed that the incident occurred in a football game in Cebu City. While during a tournament, I participated mostly in high school student-athletes under 18 years old. The assailant was later identified as a customs police who ran into the field to rescue his godson from being “grappled” by the victim.

Consequently, this incident in Cebu may have been viral for days, but several similar sports cases have not made the news in the past. Also, brawls are not uncommon in many sporting events. At the same time, neither is the over-involvement of parents, or adults in general, in games where their kids play.

Also, I have been coaching basketball for over fifteen years now, and I’ve seen some of the worst cases of parents trying to get too involved with their kids’ games. Also, I can name five types of parents who can be considered too involved in the games from what I’ve seen.

Type of Athletes’ Parents.

1. The Overprotective Parent

2. The Parent-Agent/Manager

3. The Parent-Coach

4. The Whiner Parent

5. The Passionate Parent


You can read the full article below





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