Sports psychology

Question

Your writing should illustrate knowledge of the concepts through an original personal and/or professional integration of the assigned text material. All assignments MUST be typed, double-spaced, in APA style, and must be written at graduate level English. The content, conciseness, and clarity of your answers will be considered in the evaluation of your work. These answers should be 1-2 pages each. You must integrate the material presented in the text and cite your work according to APA format.



1. How can you determine the skills your athletes will need to be successful? What are your sources of information? Does your list of skills include technical, tactical, physical, mental, communication, and character skills?



2. What are the signs of eating disorders? What is your plan to address this issue if it arises?



3. What would you do if you suspected that an athlete you coach has a drug/alcohol problem? What outside sources are available to help you?



4. What rules have you established regarding drug use in your sport program? How would you address the “code of silence” that athletes often have regarding their fellow athletes where they remain silent about their knowledge of the drug/alcohol abuse of a teammate.

Book
Nicholls, A., Jones, L. (2012). Psychology in sports coaching. New York, NY Routledge. 9780415625999

Book
Martens, R. (2012). Successful coaching. (4th ed.). Champaign, IL Human Kinetics. 978-1450400510

Answer

Psychology of Coaching



1. How can you determine the skills your athletes will need to be successful? What are your sources of information? Does your list of skills include technical, tactical, physical, mental, communication, and character skills?

            The best way to determine the skills that the athletes will need to achieve success is by communicating with them and managing their behavior. The most important skill for a coach is communication. Successful coaches are normally those who have excelled as masterful communicators. Conversely, poor communication skills easily lead to failure on the part of coaches because of the resulting inability for them to determine the skills that athletes need to focus on in order to achieve success. The ability to instruct athletes on how to master specific skills means a lot in the continuous process of building teamwork and increasing the individual athletes’ masterly of technical, tactical, physical, mental, and character skills (Martens, 2012). In the process of sending and receiving feedback from athletes, a coach is able to understand each athlete’s strengths and weaknesses. Based on this information, a coach gains insights into the specific area’s athletes need to improve on as far as their skill-sets are concerned.

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            The ability to manage an athlete’s behavior is also essential in the process of identifying the specific skills that athletes need to improve on to achieve success (Martens, 2012). There are many situations where coaches are tempted to assume that athletes know all the requisite sport skills. This assumption leads coaches into reneging on their responsibility of monitoring the athletes’ behavior with a view to determine the sports skills they need to acquire from scratch and those that they already possess but need to improve on to become successful. In technical skills, focus should be on monitoring the specific motor skills that the athletes requires to complete a given task. In tactical skills, the coach should monitor the mental awareness and preparedness of the athlete during the execution of various tasks during the competition. The behavior of athletes should also be monitored with physical, communication, and character skills in mind with a view to identify areas that require improvement.

2. What are the signs of eating disorders? What is your plan to address this issue if it arises?

            Coaches should always be alert to be able to identify athletes with eating disorders. This is because some athletes may easily conceal their eating disorders to avoid detection. Moreover, in many cases, coaches may easily misinterpret an eating disorder as athletic burnout. Some of the warning signs that a coach should be on the lookout for include restrictive dieting, chronic fatigue, inability to complete scheduled workouts, avoiding eating in the presence of teammates, weight loss, dehydration, and loss of concentration. Other important signs that may indicate that an athlete has an eating disorder include dry skin, gastrointestinal problems, hyperactivity, isolation, light-headedness, fainting, intolerance to cold, and decreased stamina.

            If confronted with the problem of eating disorders, I would notify the athlete about what I suspect to be an eating disorder. Next, I would make a referral to a clinical psychologist or the athlete’s general practitioner. Referral is an ideal strategy particularly in situations where a coach feels that he does not possess the requisite expertise to deal with the challenge holistically. According to Nicholls & Jones (2012), coaches should not attempt to offer psychological support to athletes facing problems such as eating disorders unless they are professionally qualified to do so. As a coach, I would explain to the player why I have made the referral and provide as much information as possible about the professional to whom I have made the referral. Additionally I would answer all the questions the athlete may have.

3. What would you do if you suspected that an athlete you coach has a drug/alcohol problem? What outside sources are available to help you?

The first step would be to arrange a meeting with the athlete immediately to address the problem. I would inform him or her about what I suspect to be drug/alcohol abuse and the seriousness of its consequences. I would then elaborate on my concern, including an explanation on the disadvantages of alcohol abuse, such as weakening the athlete’s body. I would be firm in my approach to this issue to ensure that the athlete understands my displeasure about the whole situation.

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Next, I would embark on a two-pronged approach. The first component would involve personally monitoring the athlete and encouraging him to set personal goals relating to drug avoidance and assisting him to move towards the achievement of those goals. The second component would involve looking for outside sources available to help me in transforming the athlete. This means that I would need to refer to the athlete to a professional, preferably a clinical psychologist, counselor, or sport psychologist (Nicholls & Jones, 2012). Before making the final decision to refer the student to the professional, I would seek to know what his views are regarding this decision while at the same time taking the opportunity to enlighten him on its benefits.

The next step would be to seek the views of relevant authorities regarding the best way to help an athlete overcome the problem of drug abuse. Nowadays, it is pleasantly surprising that courts have demonstrated their willingness to offer support to coaches who are genuinely interesting in helping athletes deal with drug use and abuse (Martens, 2012). Nevertheless, going to court may be an extreme measure that I would not consider resorting to, at least not at the outset. Instead, I would be keen to put into consideration input from immediate authorities in the sporting fraternity such as the head of sports department in a school or the chairman of a local branch of a national league. If the sport program I am running falls within the jurisdiction of those offices, I would endeavor to influence these officials to adopt all the restorative measures at this disposal to get the athlete back into competition as a drug-free individual.

4. What rules have you established regarding drug use in your sport program? How would you address the “code of silence” that athletes often have regarding their fellow athletes where they remain silent about their knowledge of the drug/alcohol abuse of a teammate?

The first rule that I have established is that drug use is prohibited by all athletes at all times without exception. This rule states that an athlete shall not buy, sell, possess, consume, or give away any marijuana, steroids, alcohol-containing beverage, or any controlled substance. The second rule is that drug use will lead to punishment by suspension, and repeat offenders may face expulsion from the sport program. The third rule is that every athlete has the responsibility of being his teammate’s keeper in terms of discouraging him from using drugs, and reporting his actions to the coach whenever the teammate is suspected of using drugs (Martens, 2012).

 To prevent the emergence of the “code of silence” that athletes often have where they remain silent about their knowledge of the drug abuse by a teammate, I have put in place new rule. This rule states that any athlete who fails to notify me at the earliest opportunity about drug use after being present in a place where drugs are being used or gaining knowledge of drug use by a teammate in whichever way will be said to be “guilty by association” even if he did not get involved in any drug-related activities himself. I also spend a lot of time holding informal discussions with athletes and seeking to learn about the problems that each athlete may be experiencing during competitions or in social life. During this discussions, I always highlight the issue of drug use and the need for athletes to avoid remaining silence about their knowledge of drug use by some of their teammates. The objective is to create a genuine bond of friendship with the athletes and to let them know that I am always on the lookout for cases of drug use and abuse.

References

Martens, R. (2012). Successful coaching, 4th Edition. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

Nicholls, A. & Jones, L. (2012). Psychology in Sports Coaching. New York, NY: Routledge.

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