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Coaching the Leisure Athlete | Coaching Adults

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Posted in: All other topics on coaching adults

Coaching the Leisure Athlete

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  • JadeCannon

    Good Morning all, 

    I am a horse riding coach with 10+ years experience coaching/competing.  I am just looking for ideas from beyond my field to keep interest/progression momentum for those who do sport for leisure rather than competition. 

    I have found that although there is usually a big change when starting coaching; due to the more relaxed attitude of this demographic of riders they tend to 'give up' quite easily.  

    I have tried setting 'fixed' goals and a step by step plan for these riders but without fail these are the ones who cancel lessons/ask me to ride instead etc. 

    Any thoughts from other sports? 

    Thank you


  • LizBurkinshaw

    Hi Jade

    Do you know why each person is wanting to initially have lessons with you as well as their longer term aim? There are lots of different motivations for people taking part in sport and drop out is common when these motivations are not met by sessions. Check out this animation ( for youth coaches but potentially relevant for your audience too)

    Do you get any feedback why people give up? or do you have a sense of when it is happening?

  • SteveRuis

    In archery, we try to distinguish between archer-athletes who are "recreational" versus those who are "competitive." The basic difference is recreational archers are motivated to "have fun," and competitive archers are training to learn how to win competitions. The primary difference for coaches is that if you offer serious approaches to the recreational archer, they will turn away. Recreational archers have one over-riding goal and that is to "have fun" and if you suggest a boring drill to help them improve, they will not do it (it is not fun). If you insist they have additional goals, they will stop coming to lessons.

    So, if you can plan fun activities that are also instructional, then you can coach these athletes. If you try to apply the kinds of things designed to advance the skills of committed competitive athletes, they will walk away, because in effect, you are turning a recreational activity into "work." If you find you cannot work with one of these kinds, you should specialize on the other.

    If you don't know what kind of student you have , suggest a boring drill: if they do it they are competitive students, if they do not, they are recreational.

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