Skip to main content

5 Ways to Ensure Your Athletes Are Competing Well

As a coach, you have the ability to either help or hinder your athletes’ pursuit of success in sport, as well as their overall wellness. A good coach ensures that mental and physical wellness are prioritized for their athletes, even if it means de-prioritizing performance and wins. This might mean reworking your definition of success, but in the long run, your athletes will perform better and be healthier, happier humans as a result.

When it comes to supporting physical and mental wellness, your goal should be helping athletes develop healthy habits, rather than quick fixes and win-at-all-costs mentalities. Here, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s Chief Science Officer, Matt Fedoruk, PhD, shares his top five ways to ensure your athletes are competing well and able to thrive in all areas.

1. Prioritize rest and recovery

“We’re conditioned to take this ‘more is better’ type of approach across the board, whether it’s around training, supplements, or gear. But for a young athlete, we know adequate rest and recovery is more important than extra training hours,” says Fedoruk. Overtraining is common, especially for serious teen athletes who are focused on getting an athletic scholarship—but while training extra hours may pay off at first, it can have consequences that can take athletes out of the sport for the season or for life.

2. Encourage multi-sport athletes

“These days, there is a lot of pressure to specialize in sport from a very young age,” says Fedoruk. As a coach, it’s tempting to want your athletes to be fully committed to your team and your sport. But that’s not the best long-term approach to success in sport or in life. “I know from the scientific literature as well as from personal experiences working with athletes that the best athletes are the most well-rounded athletes,” says Fedoruk. “Multi-sport athletes learn technical skills and gain the experience they need to figure out which sport is right for them. Multi-sport athletes are also more likely to stay in sports longer, which is especially important now as kids are dropping out of sport at very high rates.”

Tags in this article

Athlete Health Coach TrueSport