is Communication? “Communication is
the act of expressing (or transmitting) ideas, information, knowledge,
thoughts, and feelings, as well as understanding what is expressed by others.
The communication process involves both sending and receiving messages and can
take many forms” (Burton & Raedeke, This is an excerpt from Sport Psychology for Coaches).
I am a people person and always have been; but
my level of confidence has at times in the past kept me from speaking up. I
would follow the lead of others even though I may have thought otherwise. My communication skills have improved
tremendously over the last few years for a lot of reasons and primarily
due to the experience I have encountered by training others to become Spinning® Instructors. The second most important reason for my improvement in
communication is the training I have personally received
to become a facilitator of holistic health. I have learned how to recognize
behaviors, body language, responses and reactions of others in response to what
is stated in our conversations. This allows me to think before I actually speak
for their benefit as well as my own.
Whether I am preparing to coach an individual, a group, Spinning® Class, or a team, I like to
follow the Four Ps, a format introduced during the Spinning® Instructor Training Program. I first determine my population (the who), then the purpose
(the goal I or they seek to achieve for them), then the plan (how I am going to get them to achieve the what-purpose), and
finally the progression (how I will
provide the plan to improve upon and develop their goal). The Four Ps are then
presented to the individual(s) in many different ways since not everyone learns
or interprets a message the same way. “Good communication skills are among the
most important ingredients contributing to performance enhancement and the
personal growth of sport and exercise participants”, (Weinberg & Gould,
2010, p. 225).
An effective coach or instructor can tell if he/she is
effective in communicating when the response is an obvious and positive one.
When I instruct my corporate cyclists to relax and pedal big circles on a
climb, I can see their form shift from mashing the pedals to a consistent
smooth cadence and less of effort to the top of the hill. I give them specific
direction such as “slide forward and sweep back on your pedal stroke; relax
your shoulders, etc”. I will often say
and exaggerate by actually doing what I am saying for those who are visual
I am not really clear on the skills and game of hockey,
but I can tell if a team is playing in silos or as a team. Last winter, I
attended my godson’s high school hockey game. He is captain and one of the top
players, however, the entire team did not pass the puck or seek each other out
when a shot was open to take. I immediately noticed this and said something to
his mother. They are allowed by the coach to be “puck hogs” and it was obvious
that the coach did not communicate they need to work together. His mother
confirmed this. Although I was not happy for my godson and his team, I was
pleased in my ability to recognize poor coaching and to know the difference.
How do you effectively communicate when teaching or
Burton, D., & Raedeke, T. (2011). Good communication skills
are key to successful coaching. Humankinetics. Retrieved from
Weingberg, R. and
Gould, D. (2010). Foundations of Sport
and Exercise Psychology. Champaign: IL: Human Kinetics