Why is it that some people absolutely love sport, while others don’t? It all comes down to choosing the right coach.

Coaches have long been recognised as having an influence on whether people keep up or give up playing sport. Achieving the long-term behaviour change necessary to fall in love with a sport requires the conversion of extrinsic motivation to intrinsic motivation. This is where a skilled coach knows how to make this happen.

Having someone bark orders and yell at you is an unpleasant experience and it creates more external pressure. While this can stimulate an immediate response, this type of motivation won’t last forever, and it can be detrimental to creating long-term change. You are therefore more likely to fall in love with sport if you steer clear of this type of coach.

Instead here’s what to look for – someone who:

  • Wants to connect with you – they take time to learn your name, understand your goals and show a real interest in you
  • Explains why – when you understand the benefits you’re more likely to embrace the game with enthusiasm
  • Allows you to feel in control – they encourage you to challenge yourself appropriately and slow down when you need to
  • Is on your team – they don’t say “you have to”, they inspire you with terms like “let’s…”
  • You can relate to – someone who empathizes with you and feels your pain when it gets tough
  • Recognises your efforts – they give you genuine feedback and praise which builds your confidence

An ideal coach is someone who is a credible role model, someone who is passionate about sport and someone who focuses first and foremost on the needs of their players. Everything a coach does should increase the number of opportunities, the level of enjoyment and amount of satisfaction for players at every stage of development. Therefore, they should be able to interact with a large variety of people and have the ability to catch and hold people’s attention. They are people who look to positively influence other people’s lives and show a commitment to their own ongoing training and development.

Coaches can come from anywhere – it is not about who they are but rather whether they understand and care about the development of people on their journey through sport.

More information

For other ways that you can find coaches and keep them click here.