Communication and working relationships in sport and fitness
Communication and working relationships in sport and fitness

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Communication and working relationships in sport and fitness

2 A coach’s story: emotional regulation

Emotional regulation is the second topical aspect you explore. You have already seen that conviction and stirring words have a place in influencing others. But how does one coach view the role of emotional regulation in his communication?

Activity 2 Danny Kerry’s journey as head coach of GB hockey

Timing: Allow about 15 minutes

The purpose of this activity is to hear how Danny Kerry, Great Britain Olympic hockey coach, explains his coaching and management journey, including a key aspect of his working relationships.

Watch the video and, while watching, identify and note:

Download this video clip.Video player: e119_investec_1.mp4
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My name is Danny Carey, and I'm the England and Great Britain women's hockey coach. I've been involved since 2005. I never really considered being a manager or a coach when I was playing. And actually, I was asked towards the end of my career, would I consider going and getting involved with coaching at a national league side, and the rest is history with it.
I'm not sure I've ever felt 100% comfortable being in the skin of a head coach. And I think that's a good place to be. You're constantly reflecting back, projecting forth, and having to deal with the here and now. And it's something that consumes a lot of my waking moments.
Some of these athletes I have worked with since 2005. They have literally - along with myself - grown up over those 11 years. And needs and wants as human beings change. And you have to evolve and change and accept that as well.
One of the biggest lessons I've learned is if you can't manage yourself, how can you expect to have an effective working relationship with other athletes, with other staff? And so that ability to self-regulate is key. However, it's absolutely fundamental that you have a passion for what you do. I think keeping my calm in really high stake scenarios has been my greatest challenge as a coach. So I think you're never the finished article as an athlete or as a coach. And it's something I continue to work hard on.
When inviting an athlete into the GB senior programme, there are a huge array of things to consider. Probably, the most important thing is actually, are they at the right place in their life to take on the challenge? Picking them too early may actually work against them.
To be a truly great hockey player, you really have to have an absolute passion and commitment and a self-belief. The journey is incredibly difficult. There are huge amounts of ups and downs. And you've got to keep coming back. I've certainly learned huge amounts about the power that you can leverage on with female groups. If you can get the culture right, if you can get the leadership right within the group, then female groups take on a power of their own. They can become incredibly nurturing of one another. They can become a real collective force.
This current group of 31 players has an enormous amount of hockey talent. And I genuinely believe we can achieve truly great things.
End transcript
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Why does he identify managing and regulating himself as being a key skill in managing relationships with others?


Kerry talks about the importance of self-management and self-regulation – he does not fully explain these terms. They are about controlling your emotions and feelings, particularly in stressful situations, so that you can communicate using calm consistency. This helps earn trust, respect and a greater likelihood that you might instil confidence in others. Notice how Kerry talks of emotional regulation rather than using emotional intelligence. You will recall how in the motor racing and neighbour dispute videos, there were colourful examples of people not controlling their emotions and feelings often resulting in abrupt and ineffective communication.

In the video you have just watched, Danny Kerry chose to use hedging or boosting language that demonstrated something forcibly (e.g. ‘a huge amount’) or with humility and less certainty (e.g. ‘I’m not sure I‘ve …’).

This subtle use of language is not always so evident in social media, the topical communication issue you turn to next.


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