Welcome to week 3 of our blog series! Our first two weeks have introduced and explored the concepts of ‘accept’ and ‘connect’ as part of Changing Minds Performing Well framework.
Remembering to take time to acknowledge experiences that have happened, and what thoughts, feelings and behaviours may be associated with this will help coaches to better understand how they can support not only their participant’s psychological well-being, but also their own. Connecting with other coaches and your support networks will help to develop a feeling of togetherness, and build a clearer picture of what is happening around us to make better decisions.
However unusual, out of character, or inappropriate it may appear, all behaviour can be understood by seeing it in the context of the person, their history, the task demands, and the general environment. There is no absolute truth and everyone’s perspective is valid. Behaviour seen as confusing, challenging or frustrating is still aiming to achieve legitimate human needs, and people will be doing their best with the resources they have at that time. Even when we are feeling stuck, change is always possible, if not limited by constraints.
Maintaining perspective by stepping back to consider what we are doing, as an individual and within the system, helps us to act more effectively. So, we reflect.
Reflect – Moving away from ‘do do do’
It is easy to fall into the trap of dashing to and from work, coaching sessions, family commitments, without taking the time to step back from this constant state of on the move, to reflect.
Reflection allows us to step back and find space to process our thoughts, feelings and experiences and to talk. When we have or are experiencing high times of threat, reflection is even more important, however it is often placed at the bottom of the ‘to do’ list. Therefore, we need to ensure we find opportunities and space in our busy lives to step back, and reflect. Here are some key reflective questions to consider as coaches:
- What are your/our outcomes?
- Where is your space?
- How am I doing in relation to what I am trying to achieve?
- How am I feeling?
As well as reflecting away from the netball court, a key element of the coaching process is encouraging our players to reflect. Not only does this encourage them to and process their learning, but it can also encourage powerful discussions between a coach and their athletes, and allow players to take some ownership of their development.
What questions can you pose to your players to increase their level of ownership?
As more netball players start to lace up their trainers and return to the game they love so much, including time to reflect with your group in your sessions can really help you as a coach to understand how your players are feeling, what they are thinking, and help you to support them with their transition back into training and competition.
In your session planning, try to factor in some time to support your group with their reflections. For example, including time at the end of the session as part of an extended cool down activity can allow a coach to ask general questions of the group or even give the opportunity to pose a dilemma or area of uncertainty – for example “Is this the right level of activity after such a long break?”
Take a look below at some suggested key questions to open up reflective discussions:
- How did that feel?
- What was the pace of the session like?
- What do you love doing in training?
- What do/did you struggle with?
- What could we do more or less of?