NFE in sport
Step 1: Choose your method!
Being a sports provider (trainer, coach, volunteer, gymnast or under any other capacity) is on its own a quite demanding and challenging role. Apart from the knowledge related to the sports field, you are an educator, a teacher, a mentor, sometimes even a parent and a friend to your young athletes, who look up to you and trust you with blind eyes. This role requires certain skills and capacities, especially when the role of the NFE provider and facilitator adds on the picture. Here is a short list with a few skills that you should acquire or further practice on in order to succeed in this multi-level role of yours and do the best for your young athletes:
A. Facilitation skills
Undoubtedly in your work as a sports provider you have practiced facilitation skills in several contexts: in training, during a game, in an event etc. Facilitation is equal to all the skills one needs to have in order to deliver a successful training or activity, regardless of the size of the target group or the context of the training. And this is how you will achieve your goal:
• Feel comfortable with the NFE activity you have chosen, or else neither will your target group!
• Try to attract and engage non-motivated or negative participants – try to figure out why they are skeptical or hesitate to interact with the group.
• Set some boundaries – it is important to ensure that all participants feel safe to express themselves, so you need to manage participants who tend to prevail over others!
B. Presentation skills
Your role as the trainer/facilitator turns you into the authoritative person, that will be the center of attention several times. Therefore, you need to make sure that your presence keeps your audience engaged:
• Be positive – smile a lot, be open and approachable. The mood of the group depends on you!
• Use a confident tone of voice – no one likes listening to someone who they can barely hear or understand.
• Keep eye contact in order to engage your audience and keep their attention.
C. Group dynamics
Understanding the dynamics of your audience, where they stand, what they need, how they interact is a vital part of your role and it expands in several levels:
• Conflict management – you know well enough that disagreements, arguments, tension or even fights is a common thing in the sports field. Use your charisma to manage these incidents and bring peace back to the group.
• Keep up the spirit – tiredness and boredom might appear along the way, especially where physical exercise is required. Try to feel the pace of the group and find creative ways to give a break to your athletes, share a short laugh or energize them to keep them engaged.