Consulting with professional coaches, as well as their athletes

Ken Hodge, University of Otago, New Zealand

Theme: Consulting/private practice

Program ID: SYM-11

Presentation: October 3, 2013 2:30 pm - 3:45 pm

Room: Melrose


Athletes and/or coaches – who is your client? Adopting a scientist-practitioner, performance psychology approach we will address this crucial issue by focusing on the coach as a ‘performer’ in her/his own right; as well as a key member of the SPC-Athlete-Coach triad. This presentation will provide insight into the mental skills training support provided for a professional rugby team playing in the Super 15 competition (teams from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa). An ‘athlete-centered’, but ‘coach-driven’ consulting style was adopted as the preferred approach; however, in the professional team sport context individual player needs have to be balanced against the team needs, as identified by the coach – hence the ‘coach-driven’ strand to the consulting style in this environment. A scientist-practitioner model was employed that integrated aspects of Self-Determination Theory (SDT; Deci & Ryan, 2002) and Personal Construct psychology (Gucciardi & Gordon, 2009; Kelly, 1955, 1991). Consulting goals were based upon a desire to satisfy both the athlete’s and the coach’s psychological needs for autonomy, competence and relatedness (SDT). Personal Construct psychology principles were followed in order to help both athletes and coaches identify their individual strengths and weaknesses (i.e., via Performance Profiling; Butler & Hardy, 1992; Gucciardi & Gordon, 2009). Challenges and potential conflicts of interest are identified and examples of mental skills training by proxy (i.e., mental skills reinforced and fine-tuned by the coach) are offered for consideration.

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