Body Language In Coaching - On Deck

Body Language In Coaching – On Deck

This coming September at the 2010 American Swimming Coaches Association World Clinic in Indianapolis, Indiana, Canadian coach and renowned lecturer Dr. Monika Schloder will give an in-depth guest presentation on Body Language in Coaching: A Tool for Effective Communication.

Dr. Schloder teaches the sociology of sport and foundations of coaching at the University of Calgary and was the Alberta 2008 Coach of the Year and recipient of 14 international teaching and coaching awards.

Dr. Schloder teaches that body language is the outward reflection of a person’s emotional condition, defined as gestures, postures, and facial expressions by which a person manifests various physical, mental or emotional states and communicates non-verbally with others.

According to research that Dr. Schloder will explain in her presentation, 60-80% of an athlete’s initial opinion of a coach is formed in less than four minutes as the athlete makes judgments whether or not the coach is approachable (interpreted as easy to talk to, friendly, amicable, sociable or open) or unapproachable (perceived as distant, unfriendly, grumpy, aloof, cold or standoffish).

Dr. Schloder teaches that coaches are not always aware of the immediate affect of their body language or the emotional signals they send off. At the same time, coaches are on display, observed and studied’ by athletes before, during and after training as well as before, during and after competition.

While Dr. Schloder provides guidance to pool and land-based coaches, we wonder what kind of advice she would give coaches sitting on an escort boat for hours as marathon swimmers face waves, winds, currents and cold water with nothing other than their coach, their support crew and the escort boat in view for hours on end.

As she recommends, “The world’s greatest leaders throughout history have been good orators and use great body language to be effective in their delivery. Similarly, coaches need to display effort, enthusiasm, and passion to motivate their athletes. Statistics imply that without body language up to 50-65% of human communication is lost or at least unreadable. Subconscious gestures with hands, facial expressions and body language can often communicate more clearly the true meaning. Although opinion on the exact percentage still varies among behavioral experts, non-verbal communication outweighs the verbal one.”

Because body language includes body gestures, unintentional signs, body posturing and poses, physical and emotional indicators, eye signals, body language and space [proximity], when an open water coach sits on an escort boat deck or stands on a shore, coaches should become skilled at presenting themselves with open and positive body language.

Certainly Dr. Schloder‘s presentation is not one to be missed at the ASCA World Clinic.

Copyright © 2010 by Open Water Source
Steven Munatones