Science psychological knowledge or football coach’s experience? Both are important when we talk about professional football players preparation. That beneficial collaboration of multidimensional approaches, psychological measurements, coach assessment and their practical experience is important fo efficient performance development in elite football. Sport psychology is a relatively new field and practice shows that its importance and usefulness on the pitch is growing. How does the effectiveness partnership between psychologist and coach should look like? Building a relationship and an effective communication play the key role.
The most important aspect is a coach attitude to psychologist job; their participation in the coaching staff or individual sessions with player. Often athlete does not want to inform a coach about their cooperation with a sport psychologist because they could be afraid of coach reaction. Sometimes coach does not see a purpose of that cooperation and have no need to work with a sport psychologist. It could bring some difficulties into the psychologist service but it doesn’t mean that it is impossible. In any case, sport psychologist – football coach partnership can provide myriad benefits. Essential skills of this partnership are to know how to exchange opinions and to define the expectations of coach, psychologist and also player.
Service provided by sport psychologist can be carried out in two ways like: individual sessions with athlete or group sessions with a team. In both, the positive and open attitude of coach will make players mental development easier and faster. The coach plays a significant role in sports environment and he is an authority for players. It is because he spends a lot of time with the team so naturally they reckon with his opinion.
Summarizing, good partnership between sport psychologist and football coach makes the individual work with an athlete easier. Moreover, it could brings ever more benefits when sport psychologist is a part of coaching staff and works with whole team.
The second crucial element is the ability to communicate effectively. When a psychologist starts working with a team, it becomes very important to precisely define the expectations of both sides. It should be precisely defined what are the assumptions and goals of the coach (if it is an individual cooperation: athlete goals and expectations). It is also important to determine the scope of the psychologist’s competences and the duration of the cooperation. Building mutual trust takes time and patience, that’s why establishing the rules of cooperation will facilitate this process.
The ability to communicate effectively plays a key role here. Both the psychologist and the coach can learn a lot from each other, if they are open to conversation, listen to each other, and show the ability to constructively exchange theirs opinions and observations in difficult moments.
At the beginning, when the psychologist starting work, they must learn the specifics of a given discipline, the athlete and how they behave on the pitch. If the coach shows openness and allows the psychologist to participate in training and matches, they work will be more effective. Similarly, a coach can learn from a psychologist how to use mental techniques in working with a team.
In conclusion, remember the basis is correct establishing of partnership and ability to communicate clearly without fears. Then, everybody can gain from it.