Building a Positive Enirovment

There is a lot of talking within the coaching industry about “positive environments” and how these should be utilise to benefit players. In this post we are going to discuss what is a positive environment and what it means to us.

What is a Positive Environment?

Looking around, the way people perceive and define a Positive Environment varies considerably with different individuals placing different emphasis on various aspects. A definition we came across, which we believe sums up what a positive environment should be is: an environment which ensures, coaches, athletes and families interact in a cohesive manner, in order to promote lifetime success.

Now interestingly when you break down this definition there are a few things which strike us. The first is that, the definition does not just focus on the player/athlete, rather everyone involved in the process. Examining this, to us it makes sense because if the environment is only positive for the player, then the maximum potential is not going to be achieved as the coach and parents aren’t benefiting from this positive environment.

Secondly, we noticed this definition states the environment should be created to promote life time success. Again this may come as a surprise to some of you, as some individuals believe the positive environment should just promote success in the immediate future, rather than having this longer lasting impact. From our point of view, we agree the positive environment should be created to allow individuals to develop better morals, behaviours and actions which are going to carry them in later life.

The Benefits of a Positive Environment

No matter whether you are coaching, teaching or tutoring the effects of creating a positive learning environment can be amazing and not just for the person learning but everyone involved:

Some of the benefits of building a positive environment are:

  • The player has a more focused effort
  • They are more engaged in the session
  • Increased creativity from them
  • More effort put into the session
  • Increased mental health of the players within the session
  • Players become a lot more resilient

Now these are just some of the benefits a positive environment can have on the players within sessions. This list is endless and could go on forever.

Could you think of anymore benefits you see from a positive coaching environment?

What does this mean to US?

At JCR Sports Coaching we believe a positive coaching environment is an environment where the players, coach and everyone associated with the player enjoys coming, and allows everyone to thrive.

To us this is an environment, where players come and are able to express themselves through their footballing ability. Whether this be through technical aspects, social aspects or psychological aspects, we believe the environment should allow the player to showcase exactly who they are. Notice we do not just focus on expressing their footballing ability, rather the whole individual and their personality.

Further to this, a positive environment to us is an environment which encourages creativity in the players footballing performance, where they feel like they are able to try new things without fear of being punished. This means mistakes can be learnt from, allowing the player to grow and develop.

In addition to the idea players can express themselves, this environment should be one where the player feels safe and comfortable, with little pressure, meaning they want to be there. However, the safety and comfort should not just be related to the player but everyone involved, i.e. coaches, parents, grandparents etc. All of these people should feel safe and comfortable to help ensure the maximum benefit is gained from the session.

Finally, to us a positive environment is an environment where learning and deep understanding of the teaching/coaching is encouraged. It should make the players involve want to learn and figure out more.

How do we promote a positive environment?

The first thing we do at JCR Sports Coaching to promote a positive environment, is on the first session with any new ballers we introduce ourselves to the player and all of their family. For us this is the beginning of forming a positive relationship with all involved, leading to the start of a  positive environment being formed.

As part of our introduction process, we try to find out as much about the player and everyone else involved. This helps to further enhance our relationship with everyone else, meaning it becomes much easier to work collaboratively to get the maximum potential from the sessions for the player we are coaching.

Secondly we ease the player into the sessions, as 1-2-1 and small group sessions can be quite daunting, therefore we usually start with a little competition of player vs coach to break the ice. In our experience, this works extremely well but I think our coaches need to get a little bit better, as there always seem to lose ;-).

Following on from this, the way we structure our sessions is designed so that it allows the player to have a goal to work towards, as we always finish with players choice. This is to allow the players to have something to work towards, which then encourages them to work as hard as they can and get as much learning done in the sessions prior to the end.

In terms of during the sessions, throughout the past year of doing these smaller group sessions we have never shouted at a child, as for us this never gets the desired outcome and is likely to disrupt the positive environment. Instead, we stay extremely observant to the player, looking for out for any positive things they may do, making sure we tell the player(s) we have noticed it. Further to this, we love to give praise to individuals and heap plenty of praise on the player(s) at the right time. Good timing of praise is known to enhance learning, and is much more beneficial than picking up on the negative aspects.

Furthermore within our sessions we are big on promoting creativity and getting the player(s) to try new things. Commonly I hear myself saying “try a new skill you may have seen” or “is there another way to do this.” By allowing this creative aspect it means the player(s) can find their own way of doing things, rather than being instructed of this is the one and only way to do it. Learning seems to happen a lot more when you work out your own way of doing tasks, because it become memorable to you.

Lastly, we ensure there are plenty of laughs and smiles throughout the whole session because no one wants to be doing anything that isn’t fun. This is done by having little competitions, jokes with each other and little fun and games. We want the player(s) to leave our sessions with smiles on their face, and with a buzz about them so they are looking forward to the next session.

Conclusion

Our ultimate goal as a company, is to bring amazing value to as many people as possible, through a fantastic positive environment within our sessions.

We hope you have enjoyed our blog post, about how we see a positive environment and some of the things we do to promote this. We would like to thank you for taking the time to read through this, and we would love to hear any thoughts or opinions you may have on this!!

Thank You

James Redford

JCR Sports Coaching

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