Communication is vital when coaching athletes


Written by:
4/2/2012 11:27 AM RssIcon

Communication is vital

Communication is vital when coaching athletes. Athletes may have different ways of communicating. Coaches need to ensure they understand the many different ways athletes communicate.

Tips to consider when communicating with athletes

  • Speak slowly and clearly
  • Do not shout
  • Use voice tone, gestures and body language to communicate messages
  • Use pictures and demonstrations if needed
  • Use simple sentences as athletes may only pick up key words
  • Use the same descriptions each time and demonstrate what it is you want the athlete to do 
  • Ask the athlete if they understand you
    Link in with family members/carers to find out how the athlete normally communicates

Basic Communication

Communication can be verbal or non-verbal. Verbal is when the person sending the message uses words. Non – verbal is when the person sending the message uses pictures, demonstrations, hand signals or gestures to get the message across to the receiver.

Example: Getting the athlete to throw the ball to the other athlete


"John throw the ball to Mike"


Non - Verbal



Problems athletes may face when trying to communicate

  • The athlete may not understand the communications
  • Signalling a message in a way that is hard to understand
  • Not able to signal their intentions

Benefits of understanding the different ways athletes communicate

  • You are empowering the athletes
  • Respecting their dignity and self-worth
  • Building positive relations
  • Avoids the feeling of been unsure of the message they are trying to get across


More information can be got through the Intellectual Disabilities Modules. Contact Muireann NÍ Riain on 01 8691615 or

Location: BlogsParent SeparatorSports Blog

You must be logged in and have permission to create or edit a blog.