Sometimes it might not be the easiest to take feedback as something positive, especially when it`s taken as a critique. But being coachable might be one of the most important skills a young athlete should have - or develop if it´s missing.
What does it mean to be coachable?
Coachability is the ability to take instruction, process feedback, and apply what the athletes are learning to improve their performance. It's basically the opposite of the assumption of knowing it all.
Even the best athletes still follow coaches' advice, or they might be the best athletes because they are coachable and searching for the ones they can keep learning from.
Importance of coachability in athletes
Coachable athletes receive way more input not just from coaches but other team members. If an athlete is wondering why the coach is paying more attention to some athletes vs. others, it might be because those athletes actually take advice. It´s much more fun for any coach to work with athletes who are actually interested in feedback, trying to implement pointers, and following the plan. It´s not fun to work with athletes who take helpful feedback personally instead of seeing the opportunity in growth and development.
This also means that coachable athletes not only take advice more seriously but they also get more of those helpful pointers. Needless to say that this fact alone helps to improve and succeed.
Characteristics of coachable athletes
Coachable athletes share several key characteristics that set them apart from their less coachable peers. These traits include a willingness to learn, which also means they accept that there is room to improve and see it as something positive. Athletes only can get better if there is room to get better. And as mentioned in the very beginning, even the best athletes know there is room to improve. So I think we all can agree that´s the case for young athletes as well.
As I already mentioned, but can not stress enough is the characteristic of openness to feedback and a positive attitude about it. Those athletes usually also have more self-awareness and feel when something is moving in the wrong or right direction. They tend to be more honest with themself about their performance. They can analyze their training and competition results purely, without looking for excuses when something didn´t go as well as they were hoping for.
Not only the coach can coach!
How I mentioned in the blog article Ways of Guidece for Young Athletes it is not only the coach athletes can learn from, get ideas, tips, or motivation. Other athletes can have a big impact. Ole Einer Bjørndalen, the most successful Biathlete so far, is talking very openly that his competitors were his best coaches. He was looking and asking other athletes what they train or do differently. Especially at the beginning of his career, he was mostly interested in checking out the athletes that have been better than him. This selection would have become very limited at some point, and he expanded his curiosity also to the ones who he saw improving.
Also coachability maybe needs to be developed. Here are some ways to do this:
- Embracing feedback - Listening to the coach's feedback and applying it.
- Effective communication - Asking questions, expressing ideas, and working collaboratively with teammates.
- Setting goals - Knowing the wanted outcome and discovering the ways to get there makes coaching tenable and fun working on the inputs.
- Emphasizing failures as great learnings - Using setbacks as opportunities to learn and grow.
- Staying positive - Being excited about challenges and facing them with a positive attitude.
Coachability is a crucial characteristic for any athlete who wants to achieve their full potential and reach new heights. By embracing feedback, communicating effectively, setting goals, learning from setbacks, and staying positive, athletes will not only develop the characteristic of coachability, but they also will learn about themselves and their bodies much more and faster.
Do you have a Dream? Keep going towards it :)
WHAT DOES AN ATHLETE NEED TO SUCCEED?
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