Why dictating rules is the #1 coaching mistake (VIDEO)

Cassidy Preston

Dr. Cassidy Preston is the founder of Consistent Elite Performance and a full-time high-performance coach helping elite athletes, teams, and businesses increase their performance and well-being. A former OHL & pro hockey player, Cassidy combines his personal experiences with the current research in sport and performance psychology to create relatable and practical strategies for his clients to apply.

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It’s necessary to assert yourself, but it shouldn't be your primary approach.
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This article and accompanying video was produced by Dr. Cassidy Preston, the founder of Consistent Elite Performance and a full-time high-performance coach helping elite athletes, teams, and businesses increase their performance and well-being. A former OHL & pro hockey player, Cassidy combines his personal experiences with the current research in sport and performance psychology to create relatable and practical strategies for his clients to apply.

Mental strength and leadership skills are both difficult to measure and work on. But, Cassidy utilizes assessments to help his clients clearly understand what it is they are working on. Then he provides customized programs with the necessary accountability and support to help improve the client’s overall performance and well-being.


Dictating rules is an easy way for coaches to assert their power and get what they want. But it comes at the cost of intrinsic motivation, well-being, and long-term success.

It is a cultural belief that ‘good’ coaching is all about yelling and being the authority figure. It is a common approach among amateur coaches because it produces quick results and makes them feel like they’re doing their job.

Although it’s necessary to assert yourself as the coach by setting and enforcing rules, it should not be your primary coaching approach. Instead, great coaches understand the importance of supporting their athletes’ autonomy and spend most of their time watching, nudging, and guiding their players.

This ‘new age’ approach is called Autonomy-Supportive Coaching and the main behaviours include:

  • Provide choice within specific rules and limits
  • Provide a rationale for tasks and limits
  • Acknowledge their feelings and perspectives
  • Provide opportunities for athletes to take initiative and do independent work

It is important for coaches to understand that this approach will take ongoing reflection and refinement of what works and doesn’t work, but the benefits are that your players’ love of the game grows and results in greater effort, perseverance, and performance!

 

Sign up for Dr. Preston’s FREE Psychology of Coaching Masterclass on Thursday, December 10.

What can be expected in Psychology of Coaching Masterclass

You will learn about three crucial skills in coaching that differentiate the best coaches from the rest:

  1. How to work with difficult athletes or parents
  2. How to cultivate a championship culture
  3. How to strengthen your players’ mental toughness

In the 60-minute masterclass, you will learn how better understanding psychology can increase your impact as a coach and what subtle behaviours you can start integrating into your coaching practice. You will also receive a PDF summary and worksheet.

To register and learn more, click HERE.

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