As a coach, how do you help your athletes through a setback (injury or performance)?
Share your tips and best practices!
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Coach Leilani Torres – Synchronized Swimming – Puerto Rico – 19 Years
“Usually when they are injured there is nothing you can’t
really do, just rehabilitation and patience. So
I would engage them in the training process, get their opinion on
exercises, the view of the athlete is pretty helpful sometimes for coaches on
This distracts them, keeps them engaged in the training, motivates them to help their team and it has been my best tool since the first time I put it to test.”
Coach Joe Benedetti – Softball – Hamilton
“Sometimes after a very disappointing performance, an athlete will need time “to protect ego” We spend a great deal of time building up our athlete’s confidence, we want them to feel prepared, expecting to do well, but in reality, that does not always happen.
Some athletes may need the time to get over the shock of poor performance, they may need time alone and to even sleep on it. Usually, within 12 hours maximum, a strong athlete will “face it” and begin to accept the result.
This is where the hard training on mental toughness,
resiliency, the knowledge of all the D’s – Drive, Determination, Dedication,
Devotion, and Desire will come to the surface to support the athlete…”
Coach Bruce Parker – Australian Football – Toronto – 10 Years
“Injury management is key to getting playback to performing. Limiting the amount of work done in practice to prevent aggravation of the injury.
Recognize and acknowledge that the player may want to do
more to come back quicker but adhere to the plan laid out and agreed upon by
you, the player and the medical team. Keep then motivated by including them in
the drills in an assistant coach type role.”
Coach Amanda Miles –
Basketball – Markham
“Setbacks I find are 70% mental and 30% putting the work in to get back to peak performance level. I like to help my players by setting goals and using visualization through injuries, the goal for the day/week/month. Small attainable feats show progress but don’t overseers the injury. Depending on what the injury is I often use it to help develop their weaker side (if it is a right-hand injury work on the left, if it is a right ankle, work on balancing on the left side). Another thing for injuries is keeping the player involved, giving them stats or responsibilities within the team so they don’t feel like they are being shut out.
For performance setbacks, I like to use visualization as well as keeping them upbeat and smiling. If they had a bad game trying to help them shake it off and move on or make the corrections they need without being too harsh in the criticisms. Waiting a week and then focusing on it I find helps sometimes too when they aren’t as frustrated with the performance they had at the time they can often see how to fix it themselves.”
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