This Olympic preparation series will help coaches navigate the difficulties and perhaps unforeseen stressors that come with the highest level of performance and competition. If you are a coach who is performing (yes, you are performing as much as your athletes are) for the first time in the Olympic Games, it is important to understand yourself, your environment, and your athletes adapting to the circumstances. Reaching this pinnacle of competition and performance has taken dedicated work, sustained efforts, consistency, and passion. Do not lose sight of these or, on the other hand, overwhelm yourself with more. This blog is meant to help provide some insights to coaches preparing to face the challenges that the Olympic Games demand.
Many coaches will view the demands of the Olympic Games as an opportunity to peak in their delivery of coaching. To be honest, this is already what you have done to get to this level. When coaches attempt to “do more” because of the situation, it can backfire and create instability in place of the consistent performance that resulted in the qualification to the Games. It is important to give it your all and rise to the occasion — but perhaps more importantly it is essential that you trust in yourself and your abilities. You will also know your athletes best and help to match their intensity and focus to the demands of the Olympic Games. Just as you would not want to overwhelm them with “doing more” if it was not appropriate to their approach to performance, don’t make that mistake with your own
The Olympic Games come with a lot of distractions and changes to the perceptive “norm” of competition. As a coach, the number of people around your athletes can feel alarming. Whether it is the media, other athletes, coaches, staff, or the “who are you” hanging around, it is off-putting and difficult. It is important to regulate yourself in such circumstances athletes to avoid unnecessarily distracting your athletes who may feed off of your alarm. Expect the frenzy to feel disrespectful and be uncomfortable. Prepare yourself to manage the best you can for yourself and your athletes.
Your athletes will read your verbal and nonverbal communication to gauge their own impressions of the Olympic Games. Your remaining calm and poised for your athletes allows them to focus on their performance. They will also rely on you, as usual, to guide them through the journey of the Olympic Games. You will know best how to help them manage their intensity regulation, routines, pressure, and focus. Stay true to yourself and your game plan.
- Don’t overdo it by trying to “Do More”
- Be prepared for distractions
- Remain true to your relationship with your athletes and the game plan for performance