Communication in sport: this is why it is important

Is communication in sport a simple exchange of information or an element of growth? We talked about it with 2 sports psychologists, collaborators of Orangogo

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From waking up in the morning to going to bed at night, we communicate! But what characterizes our daily communication? They explain to us Ambra Nagliati and Sergio Costa, sports psychologists and collaborators of Orangogo, the sports search engine.

Communication elements

the psychologist Paul Watzlavick (1974) states that “communication is a process of exchange of information and influence between two or more people that takes place in a given context”. According to the author our communication is made up of several elements:

  1. Sender and recipient: they are the protagonists of the exchange of words that mutually influence each other.
  2. Feedback: it is equivalent to the return message which produces a change of interlocutors and thus generates a circular interactive process.
  3. A message: the subject of the communication, which is communicated by the sender.
  4. Coded: for example the Italian language.
  5. The context: where the communication takes place (e.g. family, work, sports).
  6. Channel: refers to the way we communicate and which is divided into verbal (the words we use), non-verbal (eg facial expressions, posture) and paraverbal (eg tone of voice).
  7. Interference or distraction: anything that distracts from the interaction (for example, the ringing of the phone).

communicate in sport

Communication in sport is important“Explain Dr. Ambra Nagliati and Dr. Sergio Costa” because, in addition to being a constant in the coach-athlete relationship, when used correctly, it stimulates mutual trust and growth “. Returning to the elements of communication let’s see together how they could be translated in a sporting context, if they are well managed. Here is an example:

  • At the end of training (sporting context), the coach (transmitter) warns (verbal channel) his player (receiver) that he will not play this Saturday (message).
  • Athlete nods sadly (non-verbal channel).
  • In the meantime, the coach receives a phone call which he immediately refuses (distraction) and, immediately afterwards, having grasped his dissatisfaction (feedback), he encourages him (code) by telling him that if he makes an effort, he will be called for the following Saturday.
  • The athlete returns to the locker room more relieved.

The secrets of effective communication

To communicate effectively, it is important to be aware of all these aspects and to follow a certain strategy. Here are a few:

  1. Pay attention to how you communicate: are you a person who uses voice a lot? Or who prefers to act rather than talk?… what we recommend is above all to reflect on which communication channel you prefer (verbal, non-verbal or paraverbal); then to use the three simultaneously and above all in a coherent way. In other words, what you say with words, the tone with which you spell them, and how you move through space, should communicate the same message;
  2. Listen actively: adopt a welcoming attitude and show interest and participation in what is being said to you; try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and receive their message, without allowing yourself to be influenced by expectations, personal beliefs or prejudices. If you use active listening, you will be able to better understand the feedback from your athletes in order to calibrate your speech according to them, in order to obtain a better communicative result.
  3. Give your opinion correctly: after a performance, be sure to rate the performance (e.g. “you are in bad shape“) Rather than the person (eg.”You are denied“) and leave room for positive reinforcements (eg.”Ok, you anticipated the post, well done!“), Not only the negative aspects. The right combination of corrections and encouragement increases the pleasure and improves the sports atmosphere, as well as the beliefs of effectiveness of the athlete.

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