Daniel Gould, PH.D.

February 1st - Coaching elite athletes / Þjálfun íþróttafólks

"Stress management training for athletes"

Recent research shows that today’s elite athlete, while having many desirable psychological characteristics are more likely to struggle when facing adversity, major challenges and/or managing mistakes. For this reason, it is helpful if today’s coach can help their athletes learn and employ stress management strategies. There are a variety of strategies a coach’s disposal. Some of these strategies are indirect and involve creating certain emotional climates via what one says as coach or emphasizes (e.g., predominately focus on self-improvement versus competitive outcomes, reducing uncertainty or placing less emphasizes on event importance decreases stress). Coaches can also teach athletes stress management techniques like centered breathing, relaxation training, thought stopping, mental preparation routines, and self-talk strategies. Once the athlete has learned these stress management strategies coaches should have them progressively employ them in more demanding settings by using pressure training. This involves having the athlete or team practice under stressful conditions. Finally, all these techniques must be well-learned and judiciously employed, testing them in practice environments before they are used in actual competitions. They must also be customized to the individual athlete.

February 2nd - Children´s and youth sports / Íþróttir barna og unglinga

"Coaching life skills through sport"

Life skills are defined as those social and emotional skills and orientations like emotional control, leadership, goal setting, teamwork, the ability to communicate that are learned or fostered via sport participation and are transferred to other areas of one’s life such as school or work. While research shows that athletes can learn some life skills from merely participating in a sport, they are much more likely to be fostered if coaches intentionally teach these skills. In this presentation the steps coaches can take to foster life skills development will be discussed. These include: (1) assessing what life skills athletes bring to sport environment; (2) determining what life skills are most needed by the athletes; (3) defining the targeted life skills of interest; (4) formally teaching these life skills using a variety of direct (e.g., defining them in understandable terms, discussing them with the athletes, having athletes practice and reflect on the skill of interest) and indirect methods (e.g., creating environments where athletes will need to use the targeted skills, modeling the life skill), (5) reinforcing and providing feedback regarding the athletes use of the targeted life skills; (6) discussing progress made on developing the targeted skill; and (6) discussing and emphasizing how these skills can be transferred to other life settings. There are several factors that can amplify the life skill development process including the athlete’s reflective ability, interest in life skill development, the motivational climate the coach creates and, most importantly, the quality of the coach athlete relationship.

Daniel Gould

Daniel Gould is the Director of the Institute for the Study of Youth Sports at Michigan State University and a Gwen Norrell Professor of Youth Sports and Student Athlete Well-Being in the Department of Kinesiology. Dan has studied the stress-athletic performance relationship, sources of athletic stress, stress and burnout in young athletes, the psychology of coaching, and athletic talent development. His current research focuses on youth leadership development, characteristics of Generation Z young athletes, the psychology of coaching and how coaches teach life skills to young athletes.  Dan has dedicated much of his career to applied sport psychology efforts as a mental skills training consultant, coaching educator and author. Dan has given over 1000 coaching education clinic presentations and developed numerous coaching and coaching education programs aimed at coaches ranging from the youth to Olympic levels. He has also secured numerous external grants to support his research and educational efforts from such organizations as the US Olympic Committee, the US Tennis Association, NFL Charities, the National Wrestling Coaches Association, USA Swimming, US Skiing, and USA Wrestling. Dan has over 200 scholarly publications and has been invited to speak on sport psychology topics in over 30 countries. He has co-authored, Foundations of Sport and Exercise Psychology (with Bob Weinberg), the most widely used textbook in sport and exercise psychology, Understanding Psychological Preparation for Sport: Theory and Practice of Elite Performers (with Lew Hardy and Graham Jones), the USTA Mental Skills and Drills Handbook (with Larry Lauer, Paul Lubbers and Mark Kovacs), Sport Psychology for Young Athletes (with Camilla Knight and Chris Harwood) and the Handbook of Sport Coaching (with Cliff Mallett).


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