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Exploring sport coaching and psychology
Exploring sport coaching and psychology

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4 How would you recruit a team?

Some coaches have the luxury of being able to identify and then recruit those that best fit the group ethos. This is true for professional sports teams, for example. How would you do this? Would you look for physical attributes (e.g. size, fitness)? Their performances as a developing athlete? Their mental attributes? Or the right ‘mix’ of athletes to make the best team?

Teri McKeever is also in the recruitment field with many potential swimming scholarship students applying for the University of California. This next activity describes Teri’s approach using a case study in a business-related publication.

Activity 5 Selecting for your team

Timing: Allow about 20 minutes

Read the short section titled ‘Selection and Recruitment: Finding the Right Fit’ from Schroth’s (2013) case study [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] . This short reading mentions ‘home visits’, as Teri McKeever’s assistant coach, Cunnane, meets parents and athletes at home as part of their information gathering.

Identify which sentence of the reading best summarises their approach to recruitment? Is there anything you consider to be unusual in their approach?

Discussion

There are a few sentences that you might have identified as providing the best summary. We identified this sentence as one of them, ‘they look for independent, smart, and hardworking athletes who have good self-insight, want to learn, and are willing to grow as people’. Did you identify this sentence too? This approach emphasises independence, self-awareness and diligence qualities useful not just in sport, but in life.

The unusual aspect was how they looked out for mental attitude and holistic life skills being a key factor in making choices. For example, over-involved parents or an indulgence in text messaging by the athlete indicated they may not be selected.

Mental aspects of sport and broader learning skills, including mindset, are something that are explored in more depth in subsequent sessions.