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COACHING: different athletes need different approaches

Coaching is not easy to define because it includes many things.

Coaching develops people through improving their performance.

The role of the sport coach can be the following to create the right conditions for learning to happen and to find ways of motivating the athletes. 

Although the general coaching philosophy is based on several generally valid positive human values, but the philosophy of the coach in a concrete case is always individual and depends on his/her own.

Coaching is challenging in that way because everyone responds differently. Finding the best way to motivate athletes is key.

A main requirement, concerning the role of the sport coach is to have a charismatic personality. Below there are some important parameters to consider to be able to drive the athletes.

1. Knowledge (mental abilities)

The knowledge of the coach has to have 3 fundaments:

  • special body knowledge

  • general sport knowledge 

  • general human knowledge 

The athletes have a body, so is necessary to know its structure and function; the coach need to know about the sport and rules; the athletes are humans so the coach need to have an open mind about different culture, psychology, mentality and needs related to habits.

2. It Takes Two: The Importance of the Coach-Athlete Relationship

The relationships that athletes develop with their coaches are key to the athletes’s success and satisfaction. If you are an athlete, after reading this you probably realize that you cannot become successful alone! To be a successful athlete, you will need a coach who is prepared to connect with you, to support and guide you through the ups and downs of competitive sport. 

3. Ability to transfer the knowledge

The coach has the ability to transfer his/her knowledge to the pupils, to the athletes. It means the coach has to have the communication skill, voice, enthusiasm, even sense of humour. The explanations should be always true and useful, but also interesting and not too long. 

Not only silent demonstration is necessary, but demonstration with instruction (verbal information) using voice with appropriate speed and volume depending on the situation.

4. Ability to manage different age groups

The coach is in the same time a good psychologist, having the capability to understand the athletes belonging to different age groups. Of course the coach must not only understand but also successfully manage the competitors of different age. And not only during the training, but in stressful conditions (e.g. competition situation, after defeat), as well. 

The coach should be a homo sapiens and a homo faber, but sometimes homo ludens, as well. All the athletes to have a high level of individualization, concerning the treatment, as a function of age of the athletes.

5. Pegagogy

The coach is a teacher, the coach is an educator, has to be a good specialist in pegagogy. The coach has to show a good pattern for the competitors, having discussions sometimes not only about sport, but real life, problems, school, family, social situations, etc. In other words, the coach has to be a good pedagogue, having also the capability to handle conflicts.

6. To support the athletes

The coach is a supporter, helper, partner of the athletes. As a function of the age-difference between the athlete and the coach.

Indeed the coaches and athletes are partners, sharing happiness together in case of success, but being partners and having common responsibility in case of failure, as well. 

7. Ready to help

The activity of the coach is mainly performed during the training time, but not exclusively. Is necessary to be always ready to help for the athletes, if necessary.

24hours readyness/day and 365 days readyness/year.

8. Motivation

The coach must be motivated. The motivation can be based on moral and material acknowledgement. 

9. Behavior 

This peculiarity can be evaluated as one of the most important ones. This parameter, this pattern will have definitely a strong influence on the competitors from the beginning on.  The emotional background is dominant in every case.

It is wellknown that Hyppocrates (a greek physician of ancient times) differentiated 4 groups of human beings, based on their emotions:

- choleric type (active, agressive, sensitive, impulsive, optimistic, strong emotions)

- sanguine type (friendly, communicative, changeable, easy behaviour, weak emotions)

- melancolic type (pessimistic, closed, quiet, stabile, serious, realistic, strong emotions)

- flegmatic type (passive, not changeable, peaceful, well controled, balanced, cold, low level of emotions)

10. Personality 

Is necessary to add something of as (like human) to be unique, to be a black goat and to teach that sometime to do something of different and out of the control of normal rules or habits help the athletes to express the best show (Garmin, technologies, rigor, schemes, set speeds, thresholds and fixed sessions ????? Are really necessary???) 

For more tips and questions write me or discover me!!


The problem is, that the coach should be able to manage competitors not only his/her type. People are different, coaches are different, athletes are different, but a good coach is able to manage different people, because he/she has the knowledge and competence to perform it.

Every human being – as an individual person – needs a different treatment, the level of cooperation is a function of the character and the emotional type of the coaches and the athletes. 

Independently from the emotional type the coach belongs to, he/she has to be always frank, objective, disciplined, having true evaluation of the training and competition situtations.

And a good coach has the necessary sensitivity to the problems of the athletes, he/she never refuses, never rejects them. The coach has to work with high level of responsibility. Knowledge and right behaviour together means intelligence. 

We need healthy athletes, we need drug-free athletes! The most important requirements is to show a positive example and being able to co-operate. A coach represents a role model for the athletes.

By my point of view to be coach means 

  • like first: spread the love and passion for this sport whether competitive, whether as a hobby, whether to achieve a goal linked to revenge or personal victories. In fact, each of us is chasing something and we Coaches must assist and facilitate this journey

  • skills studied, learned, updated, TRYED

  • humility 

  • flexibility 

  • professionalism 

  • have patience

  • ability to read and understand the needs of EVERY SINGLE ATHLETE

  • adapt the training plan 

  • according to availability without generating further pressure in daily life

Thank you very much to all my athletes, I have/had the chance to training and teaching you. I have learnt a lot from you, is/has been a general growth path.

Irene Coletto

Trisutto Coach

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