To be a successful sports leader, it’s no surprise that there’s a handful of qualities and characteristics that is needed. The core skills you mainly need are communication (verbal and non-verbal), organisation of equipment and knowledge. Furthermore, the advanced skills you need are; being able to structure activities (planning), being able to set targets, use of language and being able to evaluate.
The first core skill is communication, both verbal and non verbal. Firstly, non-verbal uses hand gestures as a different means of communication. This could be used in large areas between teams or a referee giving direct instructions to players. Verbal uses communication in which we can listen to. This will generally be used in training sessions to let the athlete know what they are doing and how they can improve. This can also be used by coaches in training sessions to make sure that the athlete is reaching their maximum potential. A coach would also explain why the athlete is doing the activity and what benefit they can achieve from it. You can have better knowledge of a sport, but without enough communication skills that knowledge won’t be passed onto the players. The ability to effectively communicate your thoughts to a player allows you to motivate and create a positive atmosphere at practice and games. Having good leadership and communication skills means being able to move others towards a series of goals. In order to get those objectives conveyed to fellow team members, you should be able to communicate to them efficiently. Therefore, if you’re able to communicate effectively, you’ll be able to support the development of sports performers.
The next core skill is organisation of equipment. It’s extremely essential that a sports leader is organised and is able to effectively organise equipment. As a sports leader, it will be your responsibility to organise:
– each training session (this includes premises, locations and equipment)
– competitions
– paperwork
– health and safety
– the evaluation of each meeting for the performer and their parents
The next core skill is knowledge. A sports leader will need good knowledge to break down complicated skills and use them to train an athlete safely in their specific sport. An example of this is in gymnastics when a coach or a sports leader needs to have the knowledge to break down skills like back somersaults and making sure to teach it safely. A sports leader will organise the session by booking the facilities he/she needs as well as the equipment needed. This means that they have to make sure that he/she has everything they need to make the session run smoothly.
The first advanced skill is being able to structure activities (planning). A good sports leader will effectively organise and plan a session so the athlete can be given the best chance to improve and make them the best in the sport. A sports leader will also plan their session, using the FITT principles, combining the 3 main elements of a session;
– A warm-up to stretch the athlete’s muscles so they take part in the activity without risk of injuring any muscles.
– The activity — this will be the part where the athlete will improve and normally do something relating to the sport he/she is taking part in.
– A cool-down to release stress and tension on the muscles as well as to get all the acid in the muscles oxidised to prevent injury (e.g. stitches)
Another advanced skill is being able to set targets. Targets are usually set for for the athlete to train at so he/she can improve on specific attributes or in general. An example of this is a sprinter. A coach would set a target of beating his/her best time achieved in the 100m sprint. It’s extremely important that a sports leader sets realistic targets that a team or a person can follow. These targets should be planned out so that they challenge the performer in a sensible or realistic manner.
The next advanced skill is use of language. A sports leader should be able to adapt his/her vocabulary to suit different age groups or groups with different abilities. An example of this is a sports leader training a world class athlete at figure skating. This will differ from attempting to train a child because you would teach the child the basics of the sport to do the activity. Meanwhile, teaching an athlete, you would need to be technically advanced to teach the advanced things to make the athlete be the best. Language can influence how an individual acts. If used correctly and well, language can be used as a positive tool. It can increase the team members’ self esteems, explain rules and regulations, show respect for others, expand a person’s knowledge and understanding of a sport etc.
The final advanced skill is being able to evaluate. Evaluating a session means making sure it was effective in what the session was trying to achieve on the individual. An example of this is a sports leader evaluating his/her session for improving speed on a sprinter using ankle weights as resistance. If the session was effective, it may be used again. However, if not, it will no longer be used on the athlete. The evaluation should be carried out after the session if possible. This is so that essential information won’t be lost for the planning of the following session. Whether good or bad, all available information should be used to help the planning of the next session to make sure it’s successful.