Enhancing Coaching Effectiveness in Figure Skating through a Mental Skills Training Program

in The Sport Psychologist
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Research on various psychological techniques indicates that their use by athletes, particularly in combination with one another, can produce enhanced performance. An extension of this finding would seem to be that coaches should be able to incorporate combinations of various mental training techniques in their teaching to improve their coaching effectiveness. A work-shop was developed and conducted for figure skating coaches on the use of various psychological techniques with their skaters. Prior to and following the workshop, the coaches were asked about their use of the psychological techniques. While most coaches were familiar with the techniques before participating in the workshop, they evaluated the workshop as being informative and felt it helped them to more effectively use the techniques. The more qualified and experienced coaches generally were the most positive toward the workshop and the various mental training techniques covered. The skaters they coached reported improvements in their lessons following the coaches’ participation in the workshop.

Craig R. Hall and Wendy M. Rodgers are with the Faculty of Physical Education, Thames Hall, University of Western Ontario, London, Ont. N6A 3K7.

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