As a Coach, Find the Right Words

As a Coach, Find the Right Words

By Russell Mark//National Team High Performance Consultant  | Tuesday, April 5, 2016

A basic foundation of coaching is translating what you know about swim technique into an athlete's performance, turning your words into somebody else's movements. How well your words connect with an athlete is dependent on individual personality and understanding, so it's critical that a coach be flexible in communication.  Repeating the same phrase over and over is unlikely to make it better understood, but modifying your phrasing likely will. 

Did you know that effective coaching communication and cues has been studied in-depth?  Specifically, the kind of direction from a coach that yields the best results. 
Enter: The most applicable and impactful piece of research that I have come across in over 10 years.  As someone who always tries to find the best words to describe technique to others, this literature review made me think hard about what phrases I use.  In particular, am I using external cues? If not, how do I tweak my language to turn them into external cues?  This article also preliminarily explores how to best use cues during competition versus training, and the best timing to give cues that will be absorbed maximally. 
It can be a slow read (... it's still scientific research), but it's worth it!!  Enjoy!

Coaching Instructions and Cues for Enhancing Sprint Performance



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