Exploring sport coaching and psychology
Exploring sport coaching and psychology

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Exploring sport coaching and psychology

1 What drives international athletes?

How do you develop a good grasp of the needs of those you are working with and, in particular, the different things that motivate their work week in, week out? To be an effective coach or teacher at any level, this is an important aspect to think about. If you can explain what drives you at a personal level, this self-awareness is useful in helping navigate work and life.

Activity 1 Heart and soul in rowing

Allow about 20 minutes

Watch this video which examines why rowers love their sport and what motivates them. You may find it helpful to watch the video more than once, to pick up on things you miss the first time you watch it.

Download this video clip.
Skip transcript: Hearts row to Rio

Transcript: Hearts row to Rio

[MUSIC PLAYING]

ANDREW T. HODGE
Why do I love rowing? That's a fantastic question. There's a beauty about the sport. It's hard to describe. But it's when it comes together, you feel the boat run, you feel the team work together-- it's quite irreplaceable.
ALAN CAMPBELL
It really is the best feeling in the world. You can feel what's happening in the water. And you can feel how you're affecting it, how you're gliding on top of it. And there's just like a really nice sigh and really nice rhythm.
KATHERINE GRAINGER
And the boat just ignites and just flies. That is a feeling-- I don't think I'll find anything else in my life, the rest of what I do.
PETE LAMBERT
That's basically one of the reasons why I row is because of that feeling.
POLLY SWANN
Once you get that click, the feeling of the boat is amazing. That's what you want to come back to every time. So you're making the boat just soar underneath you.
HEATHER STANNING
You can almost hear, like, a little kind of sizzling. I think you'd kind of liken it to a frying pan. And it's just the water running alongside of the hull.
MATT GOTREL
It just feels like a machine. Feels like you're in a machine.
PAUL BENNETT
Elegant and precise but powerful and delicate but strong.
WILL SATCH
And you can just inch away from the crew behind you.
ANGUS GROOM
It's a really special feeling. It's a real buzz.
TOM AGGAR
First and foremost, when I first started, it was just to be out on the water.
SCOTT MEENAGH
I love being out on the water and being free.
IMOGEN WALSH
Having that sense of open space-- it's just something that I love doing.
RACHEL MORRIS
We had a day the other day-- it was a really frosty morning. There was a mist over the water because the sun was coming up. And it was just stunning.
HEATHER STANNING
And you are totally out there with nature and no one else around. It can be totally silent, other than the noise of us dropping the blades in the water.
PETE REED:
I'm so happy that I found rowing, and rowing found me. And I love the team atmosphere and work with your crew. And they help you get better. You help them get better.
PAMELA RALPH:
What you get is more than the sum of the individual athletes. And that's something that's really, really special.
GEORGE NASH
You form these really strong bonds with everyone that you row with, kind of almost as soon as you join the sport.
SIR DAVID TANNER:
I get my thrill from walking the shop floor with those people trying to live their dreams, but also the ambition that people have. It's a heady mix, and it gets you really.
GRAEME THOMAS
And it really does become something that you want to keep doing more and more and more.
RICHARD CHAMBERS
Because as soon as you get into a boat, and you start to learn to row, you can always improve on what you're doing.
ALEX GREGORY
It is addictive.
MOHAMED SBIHI
It's one of those sports that you do get better with every stroke that you take.
NATHANIEL RILEY O'DONNELL
If you push through the feet, it comes up through and out through the hands.
WILL SATCH
It's exciting. It's aggressive. It's dramatic. I just love it.
SAM TOWNSEND
You're working really, really hard. But you don't feel like you're working hard.
ALEX GREGORY
I like getting up every day. I like training seven days a week. When I stop rowing, I'm going to be in trouble.
KAT COPELAND
I just do it because I love it. And that's something that can carry me through every day.
ANDREW T. HODGE
And you're able to share those moments with people that you'll be friends with-- share those memories for the rest of your life.
End transcript: Hearts row to Rio
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Hearts row to Rio
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  • i.Identify phrases used under three main categories: mastery of skills, the sport’s environment and being with others.
  • ii.Think about your own experience of being coached or coaching and what athletes would say if you made a similar video for your sport.

Discussion

  • i.The video links to what you saw in Session 2 about fun and enjoyment in children’s sport, but there is considerable nuance amongst these athletes because they can express themselves very well. Here are some of the things that may have stood out for you under each category, which also coincide with research about motivation.

    Mastery of skills: the feeling of the movements when carried out optimally was mentioned often and the ambition of what they were attempting is perfectly represented by, ‘[it is] elegant and precise, but powerful and delicate but strong’.

    The sport’s environment: the outdoor surroundings and the tranquillity of being ‘free’ in open space was a recurring theme.

    Being with others: the special atmosphere of being part of a well-functioning team, which includes supporting each other and developing strong bonds, was important for some.

  • ii.If videos were made for other sports, the evidence suggests that sports participants would also talk about mastery, as most other top athletes focus on working towards an elusive personal best performance. Those in team sports are likely to talk about the social aspect of being together and shared experiences.
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