The role of coaches in athlete transition

At STP, we are proud and privileged to work with stakeholders at every stage of an athletes journey; from education and academy level through to their playing career and beyond. Through our experience, we have learned that coaches are an incredibly powerful and important influence on an athletes life.

Olivia Murphy

03 Aug The role of coaches in athlete transition

Following a career in sport at any level, athlete transition can present a number of challenges. For individuals who have spent the best part of their lives defined by sport, when the times comes to leave, they can suddenly be faced with loss of identity, lowered self-esteem, and loss of purpose. There are growing concerns that individuals, in particular male adolescents, are not developing the personal life-skills that are essential for optimising health, wellbeing and success after sport during their career pathway in sport. Reports of poor mental health, buy klonopin clonazepam online, suicide, and dysfunctional behaviours in individuals who have exited sport are becoming increasingly documented.

However just offering athlete solutions will never fix the problems – but supporting the development and education of coaches and support staff to understand and mitigate against these issues, might help to stop them before they take root.

Currently, to be a coach you need a certificate for that covers the “balls, bibs and cones” aspects of athlete training, but you invariably become so much more than that to an athlete or team. You are a mentor, a parental figure – we feel it is our responsibility as an organistion to challenge whether the system really geared up for this. This perspective ia shared by some coaches at a high level, as well as from anecdotal and factual research with athletes.
Following the recent call for evidence as part of the Duty of Care in Sport Review, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson and her panel of experts requested feedback from sporting organisations on care for athletes throughout their elite career and beyond. Switch The Play wrote a paper outlining key steps to improve the structures that are already in place, and coaching formed a significant part of this recommendation.

Our suggestion is that interventions in this area should include developing the skills in coaches so that they are confident in talking about emotion, and have an understanding of different styles of learning and communication. This would create an environment in which a player feels safe enough to express emotion (positive and negative), and their coach feels confident enough to respond to it in a supportive and developing way.

There is a lot of anecdotal evidence that having an interest outside of sport or taking their education seriously can really help athletes with to achieve their “Plan A”. Increasing the focus on a sportsperson’s holistic development, as part of coaching qualifications, would mean it invariably becomes part of coaching culture.

If you are interested to talk to us about our work in this area, please contact rob.young@switchtheplay.com.