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Altering the Social Norm for good | Coaching Adults

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Posted in: Understanding Behaviour Change

Altering the Social Norm for good

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  • skitson

    Social norms can influence behaviour change. Social norms are defined as the common means of behaviour in society. For example, we Brits love to queue, have cold milk with our cereal and enjoy coffee breaks. Norms are often influenced by the context we are in and can be positive or negative. Importantly though social norms can be broken or changed. Phew!!! When it comes to sport Dick Fosbury broke the norm and decided the best way to improve in the high jump was to jump over backwards. Today that is still the social norm. (In another 50 years time will it still be the norm.)

    Anyway I digress. Take a minute to think about social norms when it comes to new members taking up physical activity/sport within your club/organisation? What are the social norms in existence? Do you meet and greet new participants? Do you take the time to begin to understand their motivations? Essentially are you making it easy and attractive for them to turn up? I would love to hear how you connect with new participants and involve them to enjoy physical activity.

  • Hi Sion

    Found a piece of research that supports your post above - a good piece of research that is clear and concise!

    Is healthy behavior contagious: associations of social norms with physical activity and healthy eating

    Happy reading!


  • lesf731

    It amazes me that coaches at my club don't ask beginners about why they have come and what they want to get out of being here and use this to build on in their sessions.  They just assume they know why they are there and what they want.

    Taking the step to ask, understand and personalise sessions and learning would be a huge help to connecting people with the sport, the club and sustaining their participation.

  • In case you can't get the link through the message:


  • skitson

    Thanks Kate. I shall add to my list. Totally agree Les. Sometimes I think coaches are on auto pilot and it doesn't come into their heads.

  • astatham

    For myself the initial meet and greet, for all participants, not just new ones, is absolutley critical for not just setting an open tone to a session, but to also gain insight into the persons day and how this may impact their motivations and behaviours. The social norm within my club sessions is to have an informal activity set-up on arrival and to have a quick 'hello, hows your day been?' chat on the way through. It amazing what you can find out in 20-30 seconds!

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