Finding the Right Support as an Athlete

19th January 2024
Read time: 1 mins 40 secs

A recent podcast episode with Sean Baker I mention about how a simple question he asked had a profound impact on me.

He asked; “Is there anything I can do to support you best right now?”

This simple question got me thinking.

We can sometimes resent people for the way they help us because it’s not what we hoped for.

But truth is, do they know how to support us?

Do we know how we need support?

And do we know who is best to give it to us?

Most people are supporting others in what they think is best.

But why don’t we tell people how we need support before they start supporting us and risk them not doing what we’d hoped?

Getting the right support for ourselves is paramount to getting the best out of ourselves.

Why? Because, everyone who wants to achieve, develop or progress will need support.

Your greatest heroes all had someone help them along the way.

So believe me, you’re going to need it.

But not everyone knows the right way to support you.

We’re all doing what we think is the right thing to do.

And so it’s important that we share with each other want we actually need to.

So I want to share a few prompts to consider about how you get the best support for yourself.

Who am I going to need support from?

Write out the people in your world that you are going to need support from.

This can be coaches, friends, family members, teammates.

Write all of their names down so you know exactly who it is we’re talking about.

When will I require that support?

Think about when you could need support.

Is it after a match? At home? During a training session?

Be clear on the location and timing of someone giving you support.

Also consider how often you may need support.

Which type of support do you need?

In another podcast episode, this time with Professor Adam Nicholls, he explains an exercise involving. informational and emotional support.

This involves identifying two types of support: Informational or Emotional

Informational support refers to messages that include knowledge or facts, such as advice or feedback on actions.

Emotional support is related to the expressions that include caring, concern, empathy, and sympathy.

It could also be someone holding you accountable, making you feel like someone has your corner, and best intentions at heart, even if it’s a little bit of ‘tough love’.

Both types of support can come from people such as family members, friends, coaches, teammates, practitioners.

Tell them

The biggest step is to verbalise all this to those who you have identified in needing support from.

From your list of who can give you support, write next to their name:

An I for informational support, or an E for emotional support.

You want to deliver this message in a way that makes them feel needed, rather than if they are doing something wrong.

So instead of saying: “I need you to stop doing this, and do that”

You could say, “I’ve realised I need this type of support to put me into a great place, and I think you are the best person to help me in that way, I thought it could look like this, what do you think?”

Finding support is great, but not everyone knows how to support us.

Sometimes they may think that giving you informational support is helpful but you actually need emotional support.

Be clear in guiding the right people to help you.

When people know how they can help, with the greatest impact on you, it will not help you feel better but them too.

And remember to flip it the other way round, if you have someone that requires support, don’t underestimate the power of the simple question:

“Is there anything I can do to support you best right now?”

Whenever you're ready, there is a couple of ways I can help you:

MindStrong Sport App – Mental Skills Training for Athletes

Personal Mindset Coaching - Contact for more

About the Newsletter

Join and get at least one actionable idea for developing mindset, wellbeing and more.

    Connect with me

    Recent Posts