When we help coaches, we help athletes. To give coaches some of the practical tools they need to assist their athletes, HONE Athletics has put together some resources in an article that covers discussion points between players and coaches.
Here are some signs and conversation starters that will help you reach out to athletes who may be struggling.
Pay attention to shifts in behaviour, particularly:
A few things to consider:
Approach the individual from a place of concern – not judgement!
Self-reflection is always a good idea. If you’re nervous to approach someone give some thought as to why that may be and what that’s about. If it because of judgement, you may want to bring someone else in to approach the individual.
How will you approach the conversation?
Is straight to the point the way to go or is it a better idea to be general? Since you’ve already built a relationship with your athlete, you’ll likely know what would work best for them.
Observations can be very helpful conversation starters.
Gently point out your observations about their behaviour and be curious in regard to what it’s about.
Make sure you have the time to engage.
You don’t want to have to cut the conversation short so make sure you have the time available to have a discussion if the athlete is willing to share.
You’re there to listen. Not to solve things or fix them. Be patient and allow the individual the space to express themselves.
Be mindful of the space you're in.
When you reach out to someone who is struggling you want to ensure that there is the privacy the conversation warrants. Make sure you have a space that is removed from teammates or others who are in the area. Be sure the individual is comfortable in the space you are in.
If you feel stuck here are some options:
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