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#mental health Leadership

Winning V Wellbeing???

The Two Modes Of Thinking

There are two camps when it comes to creating a culture of a professional sports team

Winning at all costs V Wellbeing Of Athletes

Some believe winning at all costs is the way to go and some believe the wellbeing of athletes should come first so let’s explore what happens in each of the cultures.

Winning At All Costs

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

The only thing that matters is winning!

The only athletes you want are the ones that have that desire and hunger to run through walls to win and those that don’t make the grade will fall away, quickly replaced by someone else who wants a piece of the action.

Any mistakes will be punished. The coach has one way to coach and that’s to push the athletes to their limits.

The coach and athletes will knock the opponents down, seek to gain unfair advantages and do what it takes to ensure the win falls in their favour.

Losing is met with anger and extra training sessions and some form of punishment.

Losing brings an almost depressing state of mind as the reality of failure eats away at the minds of those involved.

Wellbeing Of Athletes

From speaking to people in the sports industry, there is a sense that when you put the wellbeing of athletes first, their desire to win will be diluted and their ability to perform under pressure will crack. Some perceive this approach as wrapping the athlete up in cotton wool as if to protect them from a hash reality and to make sure they are comfortable at all times.

This couldn’t be further away from the truth!

Who uses a wellbeing approach?

There are two current coaches I’m aware of that value the wellbeing of their athletes at the elite level and they have won championships by putting the wellbeing to their athletes at the centre of their culture.

I’ll highlight some of the key phrases from articles that demonstrate their approach


Jurgen Klopp – Manager of Liverpool Football Club (Premier league winners 2020)

Credit to Liverpool FC

The first thing Klopp did on arriving at Melwood, Liverpool’s training facility, in 2015 was to memorise the names of each member of the backroom staff, everyone from the kitman to the chefs to the janitor. 

It was clear from the start that the Klopp leadership mantra was based on cultivating relationships, bonds nurtured through humour, compassion, and the eagerness to help.

Be it victory or defeat, promise or pain, there was the leader embracing his troops, absorbing their experiences into his own.

Klopp is a rare leader who leads from the front without basking in the spotlight.

“have strong people around you with a better knowledge in different departments than yourself” is something Klopp has regularly acknowledged, stressing that a manager cannot “act like you know everything.”

Read more about this article here


Steve Kerr – Head Coach Of The Golden State Warriors (NBA champions 2015/17/18)

Credit To CNN.com

“My success stems from my players and the team as a whole. None of this is about me.”

Kerr is famous for always working to hone his leadership and coaching style.

“No matter what field you’re in, you’re managing human beings.” That’s why communication and compassion are so important to him, and how he builds trust and rapport.

Yelling and “tough love” is no longer viable in professional sports.

 “When I hear a coach saying I treat everyone the same, I don’t trust that coach. I’ve learned you have to treat each individual according to what that person needs.”

Read more from the article here


More People Understand The Value Of Putting Wellbeing At The Centre Of Player Development

There is a shift in attitudes towards the power and value of creating a wellbeing culture for professional sports team and blogs like this, and other programmes, articles and individuals are pushing wellbeing more towards the spotlight that shines over professional sports and moving away from the ‘Winning At All Costs’ cultures.

Creating this type of culture within your team has shown it can lead to winning just as Klopp and Kerr have proven.


Let me ask you a question

Would you rather be involved with a team where the manager/coach believes they know it all, they tell the players how good they are, how bad they are, no questions asked, highlight their mistakes to prove to them he’s the boss and when you win it was down to them? Players play through Fear!

OR

Be involved with a team that supports each other, where the manager wants the players to be the best they can be and understand their individual needs and questions and ideas can be aired for the purpose of finding a small margin of improvement? Players play with freedom!

When the person is feeling valued, trusted and respected, the athlete thrives

Listen, I understand creating this type of culture isn’t easy for some people, but if your team has had a losing season let me ask you this…

Knowing a wellbeing culture works and brings wins, wouldn’t you be curious as to how you can learn more and implement this culture?

Categories
Tips

Top Ten Tips to win at professional sports

Many like the idea of being a professional sports person, the money, the competition and in some cases the fame and the rewards that come with that, yet there are many that don’t know what it takes to win.

When I say win, I’m not just talking about the end result on the scoreboard, but how to navigate the ups and downs that being a professional sports person can bring.

Over the years, I’ve gathered a lot of information from books, experiences and players and come up with this top ten list that any player can take right now, and begin to implement to see results almost immediately.

Are you ready?

Are you sure you want to start to win?

Ok, great then let’s do this!

  1. Have an open mind to learning – Up to this point, you’ll have a perspective, down from your experiences, but it’s important to remember there are other perspectives out there that have value
  2. Ask questions – I was speaking to one football player a few weeks ago who told me he felt lost and under-appreciated. He talked, I listened, and concluded the manager didn’t appreciate him because he was keeping himself to himself. We came up with a plan to ask a specific question and as soon as he asked that question, he felt the anxiety lift almost immediately. The question he asked was “What can I do to help this team improve?”
  3. Consider a plant based diet – There have been many studies, programs and positivity around athletes having a plant based diet. One thing that stood out for me was the blood samples taken from meat eaters and the plant based diet athletes. The plasma in the meat eaters was cloudy that meant the oxygenated blood struggled to flow and be distributed around the body. The plant-based diet athlete’s plasma was clear and flowed more effectively around the body.
  4. Social media is to be used sparingly and not to voice your anger and frustrations towards others
  5. Look after your mental health and wellbeing – There will be times you will be asked to do things that aren’t in line with your beliefs and values and this can affect your mental health in a negative way. Consider your options before saying yes because too many incidents of doing things that don’t feel right, will lead you down path that can be difficult to come back from. Know there are specialists that can help you overcome these issues, I included, and have tools and strategy that can help you quicker than you imagine. Asking for help isn’t a weakness, it’s a smart move to make sure you the person and athlete thrive in a very hostile environment
  6. Engage with a trustworthy person to manage your finances – There are a lot of fraudsters out there that want your money. They will promise you a high return in an investment opportunity and if the rate is high, it’s more likely to be a con.
  7. Train smart – The manager and coach will be judging you in training. Aim to be the first one there and the last one to leave. Be humble enough to help set up or clear up after a session. This is what you get paid for , so put the work in and good things will happen
  8. Play with a passion – The TV camera’s and the fans will be watching and hoping you play well. They are indirectly investing their money and time into you and they want to see someone play with passion. Theres nothing worse to see a player playing half arsed in a losing effort. In addition when your career ends, you can look back and be proud of what you accomplished because you did the best you could with what you had.
  9. Rest and recover – Your body needs rest and recovery after a competition, so make sure you do all the right things to make sure you recover well and quickly. The last thing you want is an injury that never heals properly and your career from the moment, is one of pain and anguish because you know you’ll never again be the athlete you were before the injury.
  10. Enjoy it – Your time as an athlete is limited compared with other careers, so enjoy the time as a professional athlete.

If any of these tips resonate with you, please take action and give yourself the best chance of succeeding as a professional.

Stay safe

Mike