Working with Sports Teams


I have been lucky enough to work with some high profile, both professional and recreational level sports teams in my career. One assignment that I remember with great fondness is a high level swim team that I was contracted to work with. Names have been changed to protect the innocent 😉

NB: that this is a summery of a much deeper story and opportunity to learn. I am indulging the full story as a chapter in my new book, out next year


I was brought on by the head coach, of a swim team to fix a problem that he couldn’t. He was finding that a lot of the athletes were becoming injured, mostly shoulder injuries and some pretty serious ones at that. It had gotten to a level that was affecting the clubs reputation and therefore the grass roots level (and his business) was beginning to suffer.

Following an observation/secret shopper period I met with the manager and owner of the club and gave him my feedback.

Issue included but were not limited to:

  • Overtraining

  • Overtraining within the same medium

  • no education

  • stale coaches

  • incorrect team focus

Sure there were many more minor issues, but in my experience when the major issues are being rectified the minor ones often right themselves.

So I laid it all on the line to the manager in our meeting.

It’s worth mentioning here that, when working with a sports club, depending on who you are talking to, your language will need to alter slightly, although you are saying and aiming for exactly the same thing and same outcome.

For example, when addressing the manager or managerial team, put things in terms of business and money.

“If we don’t sort this issue, the injuries will keep occurring, getting worse, and the clubs reputation and the business will fail when the parents move their children to other clubs.

When talking to the support coaches put things in terms of health, movement and education.

“If we don’t sort this issue, the injuries will keep occurring, getting worse, the swimmers will stop performing optimally and your reputation as a coach will diminish, as the blame could be on you.” Two-fold by learning to work with and modify exercises for injured athletes, you will raise your game as a trainer, making your more sought after and desirable as an employee for future postings.

When talking to the parents of the athletes, put things in terms of their little ones.

“If we don’t sort this issue, the injuries will keep occurring, getting worse and little johnny won’t be able to make the olympic team. Worse still he will be in pain and may have lifelong shoulder issues.”


And so my changes commenced!

To know more look out for my upcoming book or contact me directly.


24 views