I recently had the opportunity to listen to a webinar by Dr. Wally Bzdell, a prominent sport psychologist who works with college teams across various sports.
The presentation was about facilitating high performance through relationship-based coaching. Dr. Bzdell introduced the “Challenge-Support Continuum” model which measures the level of challenge and support in your environment. The ideal scenario is to create a high challenge, high support dynamic to facilitate high performance.
Athletes want to be supported and play for a coach who has their best interest in mind. A person who treats them as if they have great potential as a player and cares for them beyond their ability on the ice. They also want to know that their coach has the competence to help them improve and to be held accountable in their pursuit of getting better.
This environment is ideal because when you are supported you feel safe to take the necessary risks to grow and you have the confidence to take on the obstacles in the way of development. Being challenged forces preparation and the appropriate level of work ethic that is required to be successful. It feels good to improve and having a coach who can help you get better is what every athlete wants.
Below is a graphic that can help you assess where your coaching methods might fall on the continuum. We would all love to be remembered as someone’s “best coach they ever had” and here is a good place to start.