SA School Sports



Last updateTue, 04 Dec 2018 12pm

   Join our newsletter here:      


Back You are here: Home Sports Other Sports Psychology

Sports Psychology (23)

Friday, 01 November 2019 11:25

School Feature: St Peters College

St Peter’s College is an Anglican, co-educational, private high school situated in Sunninghill, Sandton and was established in 1998.

Friday, 05 April 2019 10:22

The Coaching Big 5

In the next series for coaches, I will talk about the Coaching Big 5

Friday, 29 March 2019 09:50

Confidence in Sport- Part 7

I have written a series of 6 articles on confidence. They are available in the archives on the website if you missed them or would like to review them.

Monday, 18 March 2019 10:05

Greater Confidence Beyond Sport- Part 6

 Eleanor Roosevelt, former First Lady of the USA said:“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience by which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, 'I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.”

Monday, 11 March 2019 09:27

Coaching Philosophy- Part 4

In the last 3 articles, I have offered a framework with clarifying questions that you can use to document a personal Coaching Philosophy.

The four pillars of the framework are:

  1. Know Yourself
  2. Know culture you want to build
  3. 3.Know your context and your environment
  4. 4.Know your athletes and your team

As you start finalising your coaching philosophy, I want to challenge you to consider what true success is? I do realise that many of you are coaching in a highly professional environment and that your job is on the line if you don’t bring home the trophies however it is important to pause and ponder and make sure that you don’t define an athlete or a team by one bad moment or a poor season. Imagine if the whole of life was measured like this?

Life isn’t measured this way – there are second chances and new beginnings. People can bounce back from a divorce or bankruptcy. I would like to suggest to you that if your players discern that you care about them on and off the field, their on field performance might go to a new level. Martina Navratilova, the woman who redefined women’s tennis said that she learnt more from a defeat than victory. Nikki Hudson former captain of the Aussie Women’s Field Hockey team played in 3 Olympic Games, three Commonwealth Games and three World Cups, collecting 4 gold medals along the way. Her career highlight was a gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, where she was the tournament’s leading goal scorer. She was asked:

Having been a world-­‐-­‐-­‐class athlete, how do you measure your success?

“Success is more about how you develop as a player and as a person on and off the field. It is more than just winning trophies and medals, because unfortunately no matter how well you play in a tournament, sometimes the factors are against you and you don’t always win. It doesn’t mean you are not successful. In a team environment, particularly at the highest levels, measurement of success tends to revolve around the team – how the team is performing – and sometimes the individuals forget to look at their own achievements and successes. You perfect a skill or role in your team but then forget to celebrate those small wins.


I restate that the topic of winning and success is a delicate and potentially highly inflammable one, however as coaches we are compelled to acknowledge that our                         mentorship spans beyond the field. Sports are the theatre of life! We are entrusted with young people who will retire from sport and go on to lead families and companies and possibly play a role in government. Are you a limited scope-­‐-­‐-­‐coach who is just prepping people for a game, a moment in time, or are you carrying a bigger picture in your brag book and preparing people for life? We coach a generation that is predominantly fatherless and not as connected to the nuclear family as previous generations were. As coaches we become surrogates and start assuming these foundational roles in people’s lives.

Brian Mackenzie a leading UK coach says, “In my opinion, every coaching philosophy should have a major statement on how the coach views the results of both training and competition. I cannot stress enough the importance of educating athletes that it is more important to focus on their process of development and how they performed in   competition rather than the results or outcomes that they achieved. In a race or game there can be only one winner. Does that mean everyone else is a loser? If you read the newspapers that is what you would think. Therefore, to build confidence and see measurable progress and to learn positively from mistakes made I urge all coaches to focus on the process and not the outcomes with their athletes. It is important for the athletes to do the same.”

I have listed many prompt questions, but they have been included to get you to try and think about every aspect of your personality, beliefs and approach to coaching. Start clustering your answers into different themes and summarizing your approach. I have included an example of a coaching philosophy to help guide you in the process.

Example of a Coaching Philosophy taken from the AFL Level One Coaching Manual. Introduction

My coaching philosophy revolves around my firm belief that I am privileged to help my players develop and grow as individuals – not only in Australian Football, but as people.

How I wish to be remembered as a coach

I would like to be remembered as having a significant impact on the quality of life of these players.

My Role: teaching and training

I coach at this senior level to educate people to appreciate the game of Australian Football as being one of the most skillful games in the world. Since the game is based on players solving problems and making decisions all over the ground, my training is based on increasing the players’ understanding of the game by teaching team rules


and a game plan that will help simplify their decision-­‐-­‐-­‐making. This requires a game/scenario style of training.

Development of a club structure

The club culture is developed by establishing our values and associated behaviours. This leadership group and the playing group monitor these behaviours. Regular constructive feedback is offered to ensure that the club maintains the club culture.

Communication style

I possess an assertive communication style. I am an effective active listener. I clearly state my expectations. I speak honestly and immediately to people. I check on their feelings and understandings. I need to show empathy, learn to receive feedback and offer constructive feedback, resolve conflicts and create an environment of which everybody wants to be a part of.

Spend time capturing a coaching philosophy. It will be a trusted road map that could potentially not just celebrate destinations you reach but the milestones and the scenery along the route.

Thinc Sport 2 copy

In my last article, I was writing about practical ways in which we can rebuild our confidence. The last point was

Start talking your way into a better space:

Wednesday, 27 February 2019 11:26

What is a Coaching Philosophy- Part 3

In this series of articles/blogs on Building a Coaching Philosophy, I am urging Coaches to document their approach to coaching. You are unique, have a certain skill set and have something so amazing to pass onto the next generation of athletes.

 Last week I stated that confidence can be brittle and fragile, and it needs to be intentionally and systematically rebuilt. Here are some steps that you can take to rebuild your confidence.

Friday, 15 February 2019 10:23

What is a Coaching Philosophy- Part 2

To recap, last week I wrote about the importance of having a coaching philosophy. It serves as a GPS locator as you navigate your way through the sports world which is full of passion, burgeoning egos and varying power struggles and political battles.

 Last week I wrote about the subject of Prime Confidence. I spoke about the science of Automaticity, giving brains to our muscles, but repeated practice and rehearsal.

Friday, 08 February 2019 16:14

Great Coaches Have a Coaching Philosophy

What is a Coaching Philosophy?

A coaching philosophy is a statement that underlines a coach's values, opinions and beliefs. It is drawn based on their experience and knowledge.

Tuesday, 29 January 2019 08:21

Sports Psychology: Confidence Part 1

Confidence Defined - The textbook definition of self-confidence is ‘the strength of belief in one’s ability to perform a task.’ My mentor Dr Cohn’s definition of self-confidence is, ‘how strongly you believe in your ability to execute a physical skill or to perform a task.’

Tuesday, 09 May 2017 00:00

Sports Psychology: The Soft Stuff

The Olympic motto is well known: Citius, Altius, Fortius (Faster, Higher, Stronger). That’s what the Games are all about, human feats of athleticism that we all love to watch. But what people forget is that there is more to the Olympic movement than just striving to be the best in the world.

A recent survey completed in America showed that 82% of parents (who had young children playing sport) believe that to achieve sporting success their children should specialize in one sport before the age of 13. Forty Five percent of these parents believed that one should specialize before the age of 9! What is driving this early specialization trend?

Monday, 13 February 2017 08:22

Sports Psychology: A Letter to Parents

Dear Parents of talented athletes

Monday, 23 November 2015 00:00

Sports Psychology: "Emotions in Sport"


“Emotions in sport; The highs and lows are both important!”It may sound completely bonkers but it has often been said that it is “valuable” for a team to lose the occasional match during the course of a season.

Sunday, 03 October 2010 23:02

Wrestling- The Ultimate Strength Tool?

Before I even finish this sentence I know that the majority of readers have already got the wrong idea of what I am talking bout. I am talking about a sports conditioning tool  that to most South African sports fans and athletes  is as foreign as watching a winning national soccer team. If you haven't guessed it by now its - WRESTLING.

I have been inspired to write an article about the benefits of girls playing sport after seeing school sports in this country mainly dominated by boys. Now with me being male, and having a physio's knowledge of paediatric sports medicine, I have had to do some late night reading on the topic.The general consensus is that sport has huge psychological, physiological and social benefits, so basically it affects your mind, your body, and the way in which you interact with others. And I think that the beauty of sport is that there are as many (if not more) sports as there are body types and personalities. And with these sports varying in the amount of financial support needed, everyone can reap the benefits, not just the skinny rich girls.

Sunday, 04 October 2009 20:07

Sprint For Size?

"...I wanna get BIGGER"  "I wanna get FASTER"  "I wanna get STRONGER"   words that are echoed all over the world by countless school boys. Many a conversation between mates on the sports grounds and gyms alike have been about SIZE. The male ego knows no limit to size and boys will go about many ways to achieve it. Well here's a method that can help you gain size but also make you stronger, fitter and faster. It's called SPRINT training!!

Tuesday, 26 May 2009 20:41


“Oops I rolled it again!" The sports fields on a Saturday morning are littered with many a kid hobbling to the side line having just “rolled” his ankle. Many a time you may be encouraged to just hobble back onto the field and try carry on playing.We look deeper into the occurrence of ankle injuries and how one can try preventing the injuries from occurring.

Monday, 23 March 2015 00:00

Minimum Strength Requirements for Rugby


Being involved in fitness, the medical field and rugby, I often get asked by playes and coaches alike for some kind of gym programme to increase the size and strength of players in order to improve both individual and team performances as a whole. Generally my answer is always... GET FIT and get your skills right. Thereafter I advise them to get their joints (knees, shoulders, ankles, necks and backs) as strong and resilient to injuries as possible.

Friday, 17 April 2009 22:11

Fat Busting...muscle crunching!

The ultimate fat busting... muscle crunching...summer workout

Its summer, it’s hot and the last thing you feel like doing is going to a foul smelling sweaty gym full of testosterone juiced guys who can’t stop staring at their guns in the mirror. However you still feel the urge to get an intense muscle building workout! Well I’ve got the answer…..

Take your workout outdoors!

Sunday, 05 April 2009 17:59

Kettle Bells for Conditioning

It’s the Rugger season and you need balls of iron...bring on the  Russian Kettlebells………….

 kettle It’s that time of the year again where the pre-season jitters are fluttering around the locker room as the rugby season gets set to begin. Boys are talking of getting the latest, mostly brightly coloured boots, so at least if they don’t score a try, mom will still know which rugby field they are playing on. However the most over looked aspect before starting the rugby season is gym conditioning and fitness. I know a lot of boys leave it too late to hit the gym to do fitness or weights, with the attitude that they will get fitter once they start playing or “harden up” as the season progresses.