During the London 2012 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games television viewers heard stories of how athletes overcame adversity, training setbacks, injury, or even personal tragedy to reach the pinnacle of their sporting careers.
We also often hear about the various ‘life lessons’ that these athletes or others playing at any level learned through sport. But can sport really help develop life skills?
Researchers have scrutinized and criticized the popular view that ‘sport builds character’ and helps adults and particularly children learn life skills. In fact, there is evidence showing youth sport participation has been associated with negative issues such aggression, breaking rules, or role models modelling inappropriate behaviours.
On the other hand, numerous positive developmental indicators have been associated with some form of physical activity or the playing of a sport. These include improved self-esteem, emotional regulation, problem-solving, goal attainment, social skills, and even academic performance.
However, the positive effects are very dependent on the ways in which sport is delivered by parents and coaches and experienced by the participants.
Different types of delivery and experiences will lead to different types of outcomes. Positive outcomes, such as life skills, must be directly taught. They do not naturally occur just by playing a sport or ‘doing’ physical exercise. As it has often been said “life skills are taught, not caught.”
Thus, the body of evidence is that life skills can be learnt by playing sport and that we can develop skills in that sport or significantly as individuals but only when it is delivered in appropriate ways. Research consistently shows the importance of social interactions (with coaches, parents, and peers) for teaching life skills. The emotion-laden context of sport and the excitement and challenge it can provide present ideal scenarios in which to learn from.
So critical to sport skill development whether played for fun or more seriously is what is taught, when it is taught and HOW it is taught.
We offer a holistic approach that listens to and assesses your needs and considers the right way forward given your unique situation.
Changera™ are offering coaching in a potentially life or performance enhancing way based on a wealth of practical experience from coaching many different aspects of sports development from Mental Skills through Physical Skills to the adoption of overarching process and mindfulness thinking to both; this from children through to adults.
A typical programme begins by building good understanding of the team, the individual or both. The output is used to
- Create a personal or team development plan outlining process driven or other e.g mindfulness strategies that will deliver lasting improvements.
- Identify the areas to consider changing whether mentally, physically e.g biomechanically or both
- Gaining an overview of self analysis approaches for continuous performance improvement.
The result, a composite change picture, is then used as either a take away self implemented plan or more beneficially, an actively coached plan that enables ‘present moment’ performance correction.
They say that in sports, 90 percent of performance is mental. Yet, we spend the majority of our time, effort and money on physical and technical training — including everything from gear and coaches to gym memberships and sports massages. All that leaves little time to focus on our mental game.
Some of the strategies that we offer are general awareness workshops on working with everyday pressures to build resilience, the types of mental aspects we need to consider in sport e.g., things to consider before, during or after through to specific Mindfulness in the Sport courses tailored to the needs of the individual or team allowing them to:
- Understanding being in ‘the zone’ or experiencing “flow”
- focus/concentrate better
- improve decision making
- communicate more clearly
- improve team working or creativity
- be able to self analyse
- lead healthier lives with fewer instances of injury
Any new skill takes time to develop and hone. It is not always easy, it requires a certain level of effort, time, patience, and ongoing practice. However, with the right amount of effort and by thinking differently the rewards and importantly the enjoyment are easy to attain!