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Chapter 8
Communicating Effectively
David Yukelson
“I wish my coach was a little clearer with me. I wish I knew where I stood with her. I
wish she believed in me more. Right now, I feel like I’m working really hard but
nothing ever seems to be good enough. Anytime I go into my coach’s office to talk,
things get turned around and I’m always on the defensive. I wish the communication
between us was better and more open.”
Penn State University Student Athlete
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consent of McGraw-Hill Education.
Communication
• Ability to express one’s thoughts,
feelings, and needs effectively, and
reciprocally
• Multidimensional
• Central to good communication:
understanding the thoughts,
feelings, and needs of others
• Goal is to connect in a meaningful
way
• Critical to the success of any team
or organization and its members
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No reproduction or distribution without the prior written
consent of McGraw-Hill Education.
Communication
• Communication involves sending, receiving
(encoding), and interpreting (decoding)
messages through a variety of sensory
modalities
• Messages can be:
• Verbal (written or spoken)
• Nonverbal (facial expressions, body language,
body positioning, and symbolic gestures and
signals)
• Distinguished by content and emotion
• Content and context interact to produce
meaning
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consent of McGraw-Hill Education.
Communication
• WHAT you say is as important as HOW you
say it!
• Tone of voice, facial expressions, body
posture/spatial distance, and eye contact
are some of the nonverbal cues that
influence communication
I think you are doing
a great job!
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Communication in Sport
• Much of what goes on in sport revolves around
communication
• A key part of this is listening
• Mutual sharing leads to mutual understanding
• Team members must communicate openly and
honestly with one another about the efficiency of
group functioning and the quality of interpersonal
relationships
Copyright © 2015 McGraw-Hill Education. All rights reserved. No
reproduction or distribution without the prior written consent of
McGraw-Hill Education.
Coach as Communicator
• Coaches who are good
communicators:
• Have credibility with their athletes
• Trustworthy
• Respected AND respectful
• Establish open lines of
communication
• Honest, fair, sincere, consistent,
understanding
• Accept individuals for who they are
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reproduction or distribution without the prior written consent of
McGraw-Hill Education.
Coach as Communicator (cont.)
• Coaches who are good communicators:
• Explain, clarify, and individualize
instruction individually
• Different athletes need different supports
• Observe athletes’ performances
analytically
• Allows them to help athletes improve by
providing clear and constructive feedback in a
non- threatening manner
Copyright © 2015 McGraw-Hill Education. All rights reserved. No
reproduction or distribution without the prior written consent of
McGraw-Hill Education.
Communication and Groups
• Communication directly affects group
solidarity, collective efficacy, and team
performance
• Teams must communicate easily and efficiently
with one another
• Coaches and athletes talk openly about
interpersonal and task-related issues that affect
them directly, and everyone works together to
develop a positive group atmosphere/team culture
Copyright © 2015 McGraw-Hill Education. All rights reserved. No
reproduction or distribution without the prior written consent of
McGraw-Hill Education.
Communication and Groups (cont.)
• Interpersonal problems
on teams usually stem
from poor
communication
• Often the result of
misunderstanding or
miscommunication of
feelings
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consent of McGraw-Hill Education.
Group Misunderstandings
Types of misunderstandings :
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
A difference of opinion resolvable by common sense
A clash of personalities in the group
A conflict of task or social roles among group members
A struggle for power between one or more individuals
A breakdown of communication between the leader and
the group or among members of the group itself
Henschen and Miner (1989)
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reproduction or distribution without the prior written consent of
McGraw-Hill Education.
Group Misunderstandings (cont.)
• Misunderstandings can also result
from:
•
•
•
•
Inaccessibility
Inattentiveness
Lack of assertiveness
Misperceiving someone’s motives,
intentions, or behavior
• People fear being ridiculed or rejected
for their thoughts
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reproduction or distribution without the prior written consent of
McGraw-Hill Education.
Team Communication Dynamics
3 different communication configurations
Coach–Team
Coach–Athlete
Athlete–Athlete
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reproduction or distribution without the prior written consent of
McGraw-Hill Education.
Coach–Team Communications
• Group synergy and team chemistry are keys
• Group synergy means sharing a vision of what could be if everyone
puts his or her skills and resources together to achieve team goals
• Comes from coaches
• Important to obtain consensus and commitment from the
team
• Coach should solicit input from team members
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reproduction or distribution without the prior written consent of
McGraw-Hill Education.
Coach–Team Communications (cont.)
• To achieve strong communication, a coach may find
the following communication principles useful:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Impart
Inspire
Monitor
Clarify
Reinforce
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reproduction or distribution without the prior written consent of
McGraw-Hill Education.
Coach–Athlete Communications
• Coaches should build a psychological and social environment
conducive to goal achievement and team success
• Get to know athletes as unique individuals
• Find out their strengths, talents, interests, needs
• Be open, honest, and up-front with athletes
• Provide evaluative feedback
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reproduction or distribution without the prior written consent of
McGraw-Hill Education.
Coach–Athlete Communications (cont.)
• Up to both parties to make communication stronger!
• Recognize individual differences communication styles - do
not assume everyone interprets info in the same ways
• Reduce uncertainty; clarify expectations and be supportive
• Focus on being positive and consistent
• Develop empathy skills
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reproduction or distribution without the prior written consent of
McGraw-Hill Education.
Athlete-Athlete Communication
• Teammates must establish and maintain
harmonious working relationships with each
other
• Coaches should make a point to start the season
off with disclosure/mutual sharing team-building
activities
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reproduction or distribution without the prior written consent of
McGraw-Hill Education.
Athlete-Athlete Communication (cont.)
• Athletic teams are like families…tension,
frustration, and conflict is inevitable
• Underlying issues revolve around
•
•
•
•
•
•
Misunderstanding
Insensitivity
Distrust
Betrayal
Athletes feeling unheard
Intercultural misunderstandings rooted in race,
class, ethnicity, etc.
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reproduction or distribution without the prior written consent of
McGraw-Hill Education.
Ways to Improve Athlete-Athlete
Communication
• Make sure everyone pulling in the same direction
(team comes first)
• Listen to others, they will listen to you!
• Learn how to give and receive constructive feedback
• Learn better tolerance
• Avoid backstabbing and gossiping
• Keep confrontations private
• Recognize that not all conflicts can be resolved, but
most managed more effectively if both parties
communicate
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reproduction or distribution without the prior written consent of
McGraw-Hill Education.
Listening Is Important!
3 Levels of Listening
1. Arrogant listening – listeners more
interested in what they have to say
as opposed to what the other
person is saying
2. Superficial or inattentive listening –
listeners tune out quickly once they
think they have enough information
to decipher what the speaker’s
intent is
3. Active listening – listener is attuned,
connected, engaged; tries to
understand what the other person
has to say
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reproduction or distribution without the prior written consent of
McGraw-Hill Education.
Active Listening
• The preferred mode of listening
• Posture indicates active involvement
• Listen for what it is the person is really trying to say
(both verbally and nonverbally)
• Clarify to ensure your understanding is correct
• Provide a summarizing statement that pulls everything
together in a respectful empathetic way
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reproduction or distribution without the prior written consent of
McGraw-Hill Education.
Active Listening (cont.)
A tool for improving non-verbal techniques
necessary for active listening is the SOLER
Technique:
Square and face the person
Open posture
Lean toward person
Eye contact
Relaxed body
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Reflective Listening
• Powerful method for demonstrating active
listening
• Reflective listening skills:
•
•
•
•
•
•
Questioning
Clarifying
Encouraging
Paraphrasing
Reflecting
Empathetic
understanding
• Summarizing
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Empathy
• Skills of listening are not always sufficient to provide
quality relationships with people.
• Empathy
• A special kind of mindfulness and understanding
• Trying to understand and feel what the other person is
experiencing from their own perspective
• Walk in their shoes
• Empathetic listeners reflect what they hear
• Restate ideas in their own words
• Ask good questions
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Assertiveness Training: Need for Expression
Assertiveness is the honest
and straight-forward
expression of a person’s
thoughts, feelings, and
beliefs in a socially
appropriate way that does
not violate or infringe on the
rights of others
It is a learned social skill and must be practiced!
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consent of McGraw-Hill Education.
Challenges being Assertive
• Reasons people have trouble
being assertive:
• Social consequences
• Lack of awareness/assertive
skills
• Lack of confidence
• Vulnerability
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reproduction or distribution without the prior written consent of
McGraw-Hill Education.
Assertiveness Training
DESC formula (Greenberg, 1990)
1. Describe…the situation as you see it
2. Express…your feelings regarding the other
person’s behavior or the situation you have
just described
3. Specify…what changes you would like to
see take place
4. Consequences…what will happen
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McGraw-Hill Education.
Resolving Team Conflicts
• “Four Olves”
•
•
•
•
invOlve
resOlve
absOlve
evOlve
• Make the group the target of change
• Talk about team culture and commitment
required for the team to work
• Communicate honestly and directly in a
respectful manner
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reproduction or distribution without the prior written consent of
McGraw-Hill Education.
Sport Psychologist - Skilled Helper
A skilled sport psychologist has strong
communication skills:
• Ability to develop rapport
• Skilled interviewer
• Adept at listening
• Good at probing
• Genuineness
• Openness
• Warmth
• Empathetic
• Creative and skillful
• Trustworthiness
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consent of McGraw-Hill Education.