Welcome to our new six week blog series in partnership with Changing Minds! Over the next three weeks, our blog series will explore, unpick and apply concepts and key messages from Changing Minds ‘Performing Well Framework’ to help you, our coaches, support the psychological well-being of yourselves, your players, and your volunteers. The blogs will help you to understand how to adopt a holistic approach to understanding the developmental needs of individuals, teams and organisations, seeking to both enhance performance and support well-being.
Throughout the blog series, we will be sharing key messages and top tips for coaches across the game, which we hope will be helpful to take away to help inform and develop your coaching practice.
It is important for coaches and their participants to develop a shared understanding, as this is key in helping us to recognise what we are experiencing and dealing with, as well as identifying any barriers to success, and prompting more coordinated solutions and impactful interventions.
The framework has three fundamental elements: Accept, Connect and Reflect. By choosing to accept, connect, and reflect we create what is called a Psychologically Informed Performance System, which helps to promote resilience development to sustain performance.
Accept – what does this mean?
One of the three fundamentals of Performing Well is to accept – challenges and new experiences can often bring a level of uncertainty, challenge and complexity. Experiencing an unknown situation for which we have no learned reaction, or facing complex challenges we don’t yet have the means to overcome or influence, can over time increase our feelings of threat.
With the recent coronavirus pandemic, these will have been uncertain times for many, including us as coaches, and our participants. Everybody will have had a different experience over recent months, and as we go through the process of understanding what has happened, it is important for us to accept these feelings and emotions are a normal response to an unknown situation.
It is important to take some time to consider what concerns, challenges or threats there may be for us as a netball community returning to training. Players, for example, may be concerned about their loss of fitness, or their ability to play netball at the level they were at six months ago, or they may be feeling anxious about the uncertainty of what their return to training and competition may look like. For coaches, our threat detectors might be focused on adhering to the risk mitigations in place as a club and coaching team managing players return safely, and we may be experiencing feelings of uncertainty ourselves as to what our return to coaching may look and feel like.
The fear of mistakes or discomfort may be present for coaches, players, or members of our netball family who may be wearing multiple hats (coach, COVID Officer, Safeguarding Officer etc.) Where possible it is important to acknowledge and accept both our own feelings and those of others. Utilising the support networks and resources around you may help us find a middle ground on how we feel. This will help us to process and accept our feelings more easily, and lead us to better decisions.
- Take some time to check in with yourself and acknowledge how you are feeling. There are lots of useful tools and resources available to help support coaches well-being on the UK Coaching website
- Check in with your players before training and during – you could ask questions such as ‘How do you feel about X?’ to open up a conversation. This will help you begin to understand how your players are feeling, thinking and what behaviours they may demonstrate when they return
- Reach out to your support network around you. Connect with your committee members if you are part of a club, stay connected with your COVID officers to ensure you understand ad are comfortable with the risk mitigations in place for your return, and reach out to your coaching network and connections in you club or local area. This could be a really great opportunity to share best practice ideas and build a community of practice
Remember, England Netball members receive exclusive access to our ‘Care Package’ to help support and guide you with your return to court. For more information, please visit our website here.