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Learn the language of sports motivation

Manchester United's Paul Pogba (third right) hugs Manchester United caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at the end of the Premier League match at Old Trafford, Manchester. (Photo by Martin Rickett/PA Images via Getty Images)

By Kaelanne Jordan

All coaches, assistant coaches, team managers of primary and secondary school sport leagues and persons who may be volunteering as or desirous of becoming coaches or assistant coaches of teams at the junior levels, are invited to register for the Certificate in Sports Communication at Catholic Religious Education Development Institute (CREDI).

The programme runs from April 27 to May 25 and the cost is TT$1,500.

The purpose of this certificate is to lead participants in developing an active understanding of the roles that certain critical communication features can play in motivating individual members into performing beyond their own limitations and the team’s, and to use that understanding in their coaching strategies towards teambuilding.

The impetus for introducing this course, according to CREDI’s Academic Manager Alfred Wafe, was based on the observation that there are issues related to how people communicate especially in the local sport environment.

He told Catholic News although there is some “personal inspiration”, the course is not “incompatible” with CREDI’s mission of inspiring individuals to achieve integral human development.

“They [coaches] want to motivate students; they want to counsel; they want to increase people’s sense of themselves, their self-esteem and sometimes the communication that takes place does not promote those things. In fact, it demotivates. It makes people feel weaker….”, Wafe said in an interview at CREDI’s Head Office.

Wafe shared that in his capacity as a sports administrator, he worked with a number of secondary school football teams—Tranquility Secondary, El Dorado Senior Comprehensive and his “masterpiece” Malick Secondary. While school teams like these managed to see “successes” in terms of winnings, the charges may not have received the necessary interaction desirable for their general human development.

“And that’s an area we need to look at. I’ve seen a lot of fallout at the school level. Boys who got turned off, discouraged…. We had coaches who did all kind of things…when it comes to winning there is some savagery…” he said.

The issue of culture in communication

Questioned on the influence of culture in sports communication, Wafe believed there is “some element” of culture in the way we use language. However, he asserted, coaches ought to understand their responsibility to use a language of motivation and of boosting morale. “…. And if you’re not careful you will use language to destroy them,” he warned.

Also adding to the discourse were the programme’s facilitators— Amanda Johnson, Sport and Performance psychologist and owner of SporTT, and Alexandria Olton, Sport and Exercise psychologist, certified rugby coach and Director of Mindology Trinidad.

Johnson told Catholic News her approach is to stimulate conversations and inspire coaches to recognise ways in creating “a total environment for success”. Success, she maintained does not always signify winning. “There’s [sic] personal attributes to that,” she said.

Johnson opined that some volunteer coaches do not necessarily perceive their job as a vocation or even a career. “And as a result, they treat it like that [volunteerism]….So at the end of the day we want to help those taking the steps towards volunteering which means they are expressing interest and they can actually develop this into something that can be greater if they have direction….so they can actually see how this can be more fruitful for them, not just monetary….” Johnson said.

Meanwhile, Olton who considers herself the “executer” of the course maintains that her approach is not to tell a coach how to coach but to help them identify how they can mature from a good coach to a great coach. “We’re imparting further knowledge to bolster their already good coaching ability to make great coaches who produce great sporting environments and then draw greatness from their athletes….”

She congratulated CREDI for being forward thinking in recognising the need to introduce a Sports Communication course in a holistic way.

To register, contact CREDI at 623 2895/625 5765/627 9247 or visit them at their 34B Belmont Circular Road, Belmont office.

Recently appointed full-time manager/coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (at right) has been credited for turning around the fortunes of English Premier League club Manchester United by his positive coaching methods.

Programme structure

The course will consist of 15 contact hours spread over five consecutive Saturday morning sessions from 9 a.m. to noon.

Session 1- The Role of the Coach

Session II- Developing the Player through Communication

Session III- Communication in the off-season

Session IV- Communication in the in-season

Session V- Transformation of Self- My Coaching Portfolio