How Coaches’ Stress Impacts Elite Athletes
By Dr. Jack Singer
Much attention is paid to the impact of stress on elite athletes, but until recently, the impact of stress on their coaches has been largely ignored. What is really important about this new discovery is that the way coaches deal with their own stress directly impacts the performance of their athletes.
The amount of stress a world class or Olympic coach experiences is a function of his/her perception of the demands (stressors) made by their job and their own ability to cope with stressors. So much attention has been given to teaching athletes how to cope with the stressors of performing their sport, but we now know that if their coaches do not cope, it will impact their coaching skills and ultimately, the athlete’s performance.
World class and Olympic coaches complain about psychological, physical and behavioral responses to their stress, such as having low frustration tolerance, acting fidgety, and agitated. These coaches complain of burnout symptoms, including mental fatigue and a sense of reduced enjoyment about their coaching roles. This impacts their athletes, both because of the coach’s body language and the tone of voice from the coach to the athlete. These are both potential sources of strain for their athletes.
The solution is that professional Sport Psychologists should pay as much attention to helping coaches develop the skills and strategies needed to cope with the demands of world class coaching. Only then will the elite athlete have the best opportunity to let his/her true talent shine.
I am also available for phone consultations with athletes around the U.S. and in-person visits with athletes in Southern California. Call today toll free at 1-800-497-9880 for a free 20 minute telephone consultation with Dr. Jack Singer.
Jack N. Singer, Ph.D.
Certified and Licensed Sport and Clinical Psychologist
Diplomate, National Institute of Sports Professionals, Division of Psychologists
Diplomate, American Academy of Behavioral Medicine
Certified Hypnotherapist, American Academy of Clinical Hypnosis