A Questionnaire to Use When Coaching Young Athletes
How well do you know the athletes that you coach? Are you aware of their likes, dislikes, attitudes, goals and expectations?
Over time I have learnt two things:
- Every athlete is an individual. Never assume an athlete’s motivations, goals or what they want from a coach.
- An effective way to getting to know an athlete is through a questionnaire.
When a new athlete joins my training group, I give them two questionnaires to fill out.
The first one asks for the personal details of the athlete: name, contact details, parents’ names, relevant medical history, etc.
The second asks them about their likes, dislikes, attitudes, goals and expectations. The answers to this questionnaire often makes fascinating and sometimes surprising reading. Most of all I gain a valuable insight into who the person is and how I should approach coaching them.
Here are the questions:
- What are your main motivations for doing athletics? (Why do you do athletics?)
- What do you most enjoy about athletics?
- What have been your major highlights/achievements in athletics?
- What are your long range goals in athletics? (A long range goal is as far into the future as you want to plan).
- What are some of your medium/short term goals? (Within the next year or so)
- How do you expect a coach can help you achieve these goals?
- What event/s do you really like/particularly want coaching in?
- List your current personal best in each of these events.
- Are there any events that you don’t like? If so, list them.
- What do you feel are your main strengths in athletics?
- What areas do you feel that you need improvement in?
- Do you currently do any training for athletics? If yes, provide details.
- Have you ever had a personal athletics coach before? If yes, provide details.
- What do you like about training?
- What do you dislike about training?
- Do you participate in any other sport, recreation or fitness activities? If yes, provide details, including level and time commitment.
- Of all the sports, recreation and fitness activities you do, does one take a higher priority than all of the others? If so, which one?
- How important is athletics in your life right now? (Rate between 1 and 10 where 10= Extremely High; 1 = No importance)
- How important is it for you to excel in athletics? (Rate between 1 and 10 where 10 = Extremely High; 1 = No importance)
- How would you rate your desire and determination to succeed in athletics? (Rate between 1 and 10 where 10= Extremely High; 1 = Non-existent)
- Other than what you answered at Question 6, what other expectations do you have of a coach?
- Finally, what would be a successful season of athletics for you?
Let me know what you think!
Can you add to the above list? Have you used questionnaires in the past? In what circumstances? Do you find them valuable? Have they helped you? How have the athletes reacted? Let me know by leaving a comment/reply or by using the contact details below.
Darren Wensor is a sports development professional, coach educator, specialist coach of young athletes and founder of the blog coachingyoungathletes.com. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin or via email.
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