“Confidence comes not from always being right but from not fearing to be wrong.”
Intentional positive interaction is a concept that must be reinforced by all participants in the athlete’s life. Intentional positive interaction is a focused behavior in which positive communication occurs between the athlete and their support group that is generally comprised of coaches, parents, other athletes, family members, and friends.
Intentional positive interaction encourages the athlete to pursue success without the fear of failure. Within this type of culture, the athlete is rewarded when attempting new skills and ideas in training and game situations whether a positive or negative result occurs. Mistakes are seen as stepping stones to achievement allowing the athlete to gain repetitions in working towards performing the task properly. Athletes prefer these types of positive coaches, enjoy their athletic experience more and report higher team cohesion when participating for a coach like this. Confidence goes up!!! The cornerstone of the positive approach is the skillful use of positive reinforcement to increase motivation and to strengthen desired behaviors.
Coaches employing intentional positive interaction build personal relationships with athletes and their families. These relationships create teachable moments on the field in which the athlete learns through positive reinforcement and technical instruction. The strength of the relationship is the basic building block that allows the coach to have the full attention and trust of each individual team member. Development occurs for the athlete as they have complete trust in the advice the coach is giving individually and to the group. This is the situation we want to happen.
When intentional positive interaction is demonstrated, an emphasis is placed on the importance of fun and personal improvement over winning. All team members can have success when we focus on fun and personal improvement. As the group tactics and individual techniques continue to improve, the score usually takes care of itself without the coach ever having to discuss the “importance of winning.”
Does your child’s coach incorporate intentional positive interaction into their coaching and teaching behaviors? If they do not, your child could be in a situation where self-esteem is plummeting and future participation in the sport is limited. Change is possible and coaches can adapt. Feel free to share this information with any coaches who could use a more positive approach.
In the next post, we will discuss what intentional positive interaction looks like when utilized by family and friends.
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