Coaching Tips for Slumping Athletes

Sports Psychology and Slump breaking expert Alan Goldberg offered these coaching tips when dealing with an athlete who might be in a performance slump.

When you have a player going through an extended period of poor play, what you say or how you react can have a big effect on how quickly the player gets back to “in the groove”. Here are suggested do and don’ts when faced with that situation.

  • Relate to their situation. Step inside their shoes and let them know you understand how it feels to struggle. Maybe mention how you or a teammate once got through a performance slump.

  • Rebuild fragile athlete confidence. The last thing slumping athletes need is to have coaches or teammates put them down. Help them believe that their performance problems are only temporary and that they’ll get through them.

  • Communicate clearly, directly, and often. Let the athletes know where they stand, how you feel about their struggle, and what they can do to get through it. If you bench them, help them understand why you’re doing it and what they need to do to get back in the game.

  • Help them deal constructively with negative actions from parents, fans, and the media. Remind them of the big picture to make sure they have the proper perspective when dealing with other people.

 Avoid the following: • Don’t remind the athlete how long he or she has been performing badly.

  • Don’t compare the athletes’ past great performances with their present poor ones (unless you’re using the past ones as a constructive model for the present).

  • Don’t label them with terms like “head case”, or “choker”.

  • Don’t give the athletes the silent treatment or ignore them.

  • Don’t overload the athletes’ attention on everything they’re doing wrong. Instead, help them focus on what they need to do right to improve… daily, weekly, monthly.

To get hundreds more great coaching tips for maximizing athletic performance, visit Championship Performance Coaching.