gmt psychology



The role of coach is a multi-faceted one that includes, teaching, guiding, and encouraging individuals and teams to achieve excellence and success. Where that role is of team coach, there is also the driving aim to transform a group of individuals into a unified, cohesive, and interacting team. Sport psychology provides valuable tools, information and training, to help you, as coach, manage your role and all its responsibilities more effectively and, most importantly, to encourage the best from the athletes you train.

GMT Psychology offers consulting services to coaches across a range of areas, including: learning and communication styles, reflective practice, goal setting, dealing with burnout and stress, injury management, career transitions, drug and alcohol abuse, and mentoring. In particular, we offer programs in two key areas of applied sports psychology, that of 'Team Development' and 'Coaching and Mental Skills' described below.

Team Development

To be effective, the coach needs to contend with various dynamic and overlapping phases, as he or she establishes, develops and optimises the team's performance. This dynamic, transformation process can be summarized as the following:

These team cycle stages are further described on the Team Development page.

Coaching and Mental Skills

In addition to managing the team development cycle, coaching and team performance can be significantly improved by learning and practising a range of coaching mental skills. These are summarized in the table below.

An Overview of Coaching Mental Skills

Reflective Practice Reflective practice is the regular review by a coach of his/her performance, behaviour, strengths and weaknesses, etc. This provides a conduit for continuous improvement, and sets an example to athletes. Review can be undertaken with mentors, a sport psychologist, peer coaches, athletes or organisational members. The use of journals is also helpful for this task.
Management Skills The Coach is also a manager whose responsibilities vary from the narrowly-focused to broadly diverse, including aspects such as: ensuring the organisation is financially viable and competitive; monitoring legal requirements; operating from the immediate (individual/team focus) context to the wider organisational context; maintaining skill, motivation, and common purpose with associated members; managing the team through the development cycle; and always being personally accountable.
Team Building This is associated with developing both social and task cohesion, thus turning a group of disconnected individuals into a cohesive and functional team unit.
Communication Skills Effective communication skills are vital, not only to optimising an athlete's training and performance, but for interacting with an array of other interested parties, including team managers, officials, and media. A breadth of considerations include: understanding perspective (differing cultural, family, and social backgrounds and differing expectations); whether focus is on success, or fear of failure; the level of openness and ability to express new ideas, etc.
Leadership The coach is the default leader of the team, occupying a powerful role-modelling position, and therefore able to influence the success or failure of the team. Successful and humble coaches understand the value of developing leadership qualities among their athletes.
Humility Humility in a coach describes their ability to be open to new ideas, and willingness to maximise their learning capacity, facilitated by habits such as the 'Reflective Practice' described above. Such behaviour provides a strong role model to athletes, and ensures the coach is less likely to suffer adverse consequences (to themselves and others) as a result of being too egocentric or close-minded.
Values and Philosophies Alignment between what a coach expects, and what he or she does, ultimately affects their credibility and perceived integrity. Accordingly, athletes will respond more positively and so perform better when their coach acts in honourable and consistent ways.
Integrity and Role Modelling Do what you say. This may relate to the use of alcohol or language; interactions with umpires, other coaches and players, supporters and sponsors, etc. Integrity first requires the existence of sound and appropriate values and philosophies, complemented by the demonstration of their appropriate application in the competition environment. If coaches cannot adequately role model what they require of their own players, then they will be less effective and be regarded with less respect.