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Continuous Compassionate Criticism: The Essence of the Art of Coaching

When you make a mistake in typing or in spelling, it’s good that an icon doesn’t flash all over your screen with a green monster sticking its tongue out and screaming at you that you’re a total idiot. Those kinds of frequent attacks on your self-esteem are unlikely to motivate you to produce more and increase the quality of your work. It’s an overwhelming, debilitating form of feedback.


However, the opposite of this is also a problem. Most people can merrily type away while their word processing program automatically fixes mistakes that the person never realizes he made. This is not blissful ignorance. This is the kind of cluelessness that leads to arrogance and complacency.
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Effective Motivation During Your Team Talk Requires Special Words

The best sports coaches (and managers) understand that words can mean a lot. But words only take on powerful meanings when they are mutually understood and emotive for the people who are communicating with each other. That’s a very subjective and subtle thing. It is unique from group to group and situation to situation.

Gregg Popovich: Wants some “nasty”

For example, to some people, hearing “I need you to give 110%” on this project can be crystal-clear and motivating. To others, they think it means their manager doesn’t have a grasp of basic mathematics.

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Dr. Sweat Science Explodes Strength & Conditioning Myths

Alex Hutchinson – Distance Runner – Sports Scientist – Blogger


We talk to Alex about a wide range of myths and misconceptions that many coaches have about strength and conditioning, nutrition, stretching, hydration, and altitude training.

We start by talking about the latest research on the effect coaches have when they praise and criticize their athletes – a hugely important issue, of course.

Alex writes the deservedly popular blog Sweat Science on the Runner’s World website and he’s the author of the wide-ranging fitness book Which Comes First, Cardio or Weights?

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Talent Code Skill Specialist & Cycling Author Daniel Coyle (Rebroadcast)

Lance Armstrong ex-teammate Tyler Hamilton (Rebroadcast)
daniel_coyle_portraitThis week we welcome one of the world’s leading experts on skill acquisition, perfecting technique and performing under pressure: Daniel Coyle.

Daniel is the author of The Talent Code, an absolutely indispensable book for coaches. He also knows quite a bit about the controversial world professional cycling, having written Lance Armstrong’s War, released in 2006 and The Secret Race, a brilliant expose about doping, co-written with Armstrong’s former teammate Tyler Hamilton, which was released last year. He also published the extremely practical Little Book of Talent, in 2012.
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Tim Noakes: Sports Scientist Extraordinaire, Redefining the Limits of Human Performance (Re-broadcast)


From Ironman triathletes, marathon runners, Tour de France cyclists to rowing, rugby and football – Tim Noakes’ research shakes up the consensus and opens the path to new, higher performance horizons.

We cover dehydration and water intoxication, optimal training methods, and what coaches need to know about the connections between the brain and the body. There’s even some information about how to swim nearly naked at the North Pole. The show is hosted by sports psychologist Glenn Whitney.

“It would be easy to train athletes if they were just bodies without brains.” – Tim Noakes

Tim is the author of The Lore of Running, considered by many to be one of the definitive works on the subject, plus he has written and co-written about a dozen other books and over 100 scientific papers.

His latest book is called Waterlogged: The Serious Problem of Overhydration in Endurance Sports. It’s an impressively comprehensive examination of the subject and one that is making many executives in the sports drink industry squirm.

Tim also practices what he preaches, having competed in over 70 endurance and ultra-endurance running races and he’s still highly active now that he’s passed his 60th birthday.

His ideas and research shake up the conventional wisdom and break open new, more creative and effective ways of thinking about human performance.

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Duke’s Coach P. Inspires Fierce Competitors in Basketball and Life; Re-broadcast

Choices, not chances; re-broadcast
coach_p_duke3This week we have one of the leading  women’s basketball coaches in NCAA. Not just a coach but a thought leader and an eloquent proponent of how sports can be a powerful force for social good.

Joanne P. McCallie, or Coach P. as she is widely known, has headed up the Duke University Blue Devils, in Durham, North Carolina since 2007, where she has an 82% win record. Prior to that she lead the women’s basketball program at Michigan State and before that the University of Maine.

This interview was carried out in August, 2013.

Coach P . has led teams into three National Championship game appearances in her career, and has been named conference coach of the year five times. This season, which starts in just a few weeks, looks like it might be truly epic.
coach_p_duke2She is the author of Choice Not Chance: Rules for Building a Fierce Competitor, an inspiring book that helps young athletes, their parents and their coaches focus on the key moments in life when success or failure are built.
Sports Coach Radio is hosted by Glenn Whitney, a coaching and leadership psychologist. You can follow us on Twitter, where we post useful articles and coaching tips just about every day of the week. The handle is @sportscoachtalk. And we’d be grateful if you’d leave a short review of the show on the Apple iTunes page.



Dweck on Coaching: Praise, Criticism & Shifting Mindsets (Re-broadcast)

Growth Mindset, coaching expectations & outcomes (re-broadcast)
carol_dweck1 Carol Dweck is one of the world’s most influential social psychologists. Her research is of vast importance to coaches and how they praise and criticize their athletes.

Carol is the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University and an expert on how a person’s thought patterns and belief – or mindset – affect their ability to learn and perform. This interview was recorded and first released in July 2013.

She is the author of numerous papers and books, and those most relevant to coaching include the book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. She also has a great website:
mindset2 book cover
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Sports Psychology: Your Brain on Sports With Sam Sommers

sam sommer sports psychologyMental fitness; coach education

Do you ever wonder what your brain on sports looks like? Sam Sommers knows. He is the co-author of an excellent book by that title and a social psychologist at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts.

This is a fun but also useful interview with lots of practical ideas. Among numerous topics we cover: The Curse of the Expert: Why the best players make the worst coaches, and the frequent, often brutal turnover rates among head coaches at the top level professional sports.
sports psychology your brain on sports

Sports Coach Radio is hosted by Glenn Whitney, a sports and leadership psychologist. You can subscribe to us on Apple iTunes and follow us on Twitter with the handle: @sportscoachtalk. And if you have a moment, we’d very much appreciate it if you could leave a short review on the Apple iTunes site. Your review will help other people find out about the show.
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Rio Focus: USA Sports Psychologist Peter Haberl On Mental Fitness (Re-broadcast)

Sports psychology, mental toughness, mindfulness (re-broadcast)

This week we’re joined by Peter Haberl a senior sports psychologist for the United States Olympic Committee. Peter has worked with some of the most successful teams in recent history including medal winning squads in Men’s and Women’s Water Polo, Women’s Indoor Volleyball and Track Cycling
Based at the USOC headquarters in Colorado Springs, Peter has a particular interest it what’s known as mindfulness based interventions and cognitive behavioral treatments, which you’ll hear a lot about in this interview. Peter grew up in Austria, played professional hockey in Europe for 10 years and represented his country in two world championships.

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Super Champion Sports Psychologist Dave Collins On Mental Fitness

Mental toughness; athlete psychological skills
sports psychologist dave collins super champions almostsSports psychologist Professor Dave Collins is this week’s guest. He’s an expert on high-performance and specifically what makes a Super Champion versus an ordinary Champion and an “Almost.” He’s the lead researcher on a recent study into this matter, which we’ve featured on the blog.

Dave’s current affiliations are with the University of Central Lancashire and Grey Matters Performance Consulting. He has worked extensively in British rugby and football, including with the national teams as well as with U.K. Athletics, where he was Performance Director from 2005 to 2008. He is the co-author of Performance Psychology: A Practitioner’s Guide and dozens of academic papers.
sports psychologist performance psychology sports psychology dave collins super champions almosts
Sports Coach Radio is a series of weekly in-depth interview with world-class sports coaches, scientists and writers, hosted by Glenn Whitney, a coaching and leadership advisor. Follow us on Twitter, where we post coaching tips and links to interesting articles just about every day of the week. The handle is @sportscoachtalk. And we’d be grateful if you’d leave a short review of the show on the Apple iTunes page.
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Fixing Mission Critical Failures With Tennis Coach Ash Smith

Coaching skills, talent development
Tennis coach Ash SmithWe’re talking about plucking low hanging fruit and preventing mission critical failures this week with tennis coach Ash Smith. Based in southern England, Ash has particular expertise in wheelchair tennis and has coached numerous World Champions and Paralympic medal winners. You can check out his insightful blog at

Excerpts from a recent article by Ash:
“… my goal now is to talk less in sessions than the athlete does; being curious, asking questions, facilitating, guiding and creating problems for the athletes to solve – this way of working leads (both in my own opinion and backed up by coaching research) to more robust, long-term skill acquisition.

tennis ash smith low hanging fruit tennis balls“…only be directive when there is “low hanging fruit” and only when the situation warrants it (usually in a competitive phase of the cycle). It may not lead to robust behaviour change, but a quick reminder of a key word or phrase during competition can make all the difference.”

Sports Coach Radio is a series of weekly in-depth interview with world-class sports coaches, scientists and writers, hosted by Glenn Whitney, a coaching and leadership advisor. Follow us on Twitter, where we post coaching tips and links to interesting articles just about every day of the week. The handle is @sportscoachtalk. And we’d be grateful if you’d leave a short review of the show on the Apple iTunes page.

Topics: Coaching skills, talent development, coach learning, listening skills for coaches, continuous professional development, tennis coaching, wheelchair tennis, Ash Smith, Paralympics, Fixing mission critical failures with tennis coach Ash Smith @SuperHuman247


Mind Over Muscle: Using Mental Fitness to Become World-Class, With Matt Fitzgerald

Resilience, mental toughness, pain inhibition

mental_toughness_book_fitzgerald_prefontaineHow bad do you want it? That’s the provocative question posed by a new book, with the subtitle: The Psychology of Mind Over Muscle. This week we talk to its author Matt Fitzgerald.

Matt is one of the world’s leading writers on endurance sports. Some of his best known books include Racing Weight, Brain Training for Runners, and Triathlete Magazine’s Essential Week-by-Week Training Guide. He is also a certified sports nutritionist, and a running and triathlon coach.

Matt has worked closely on this latest book with Samuele Marcora, a pioneering exercise physiologist based in the U.K., who we interviewed a few months back.

Sports Coach Radio is a series of weekly in-depth interview with world-class sports coaches, scientists and writers, hosted by Glenn Whitney, a coaching and leadership advisor. Follow us on Twitter, where we post coaching tips and links to interesting articles just about every day of the week. The handle is @sportscoachtalk. And we’d be grateful if you’d leave a short review of the show on the Apple iTunes page.


Topics: Talent identification, mental toughness, mental fitness, pain tolerance, fatigue, Samuele Marcora, Tim Noakes, inhibitory control, Central Governor Model, How Bad Do You Want It?, mind over muscle, Matt Fitzgerald, reliance, Mark Allen, Cadel Evans, Central Governor Theory, Steve Prefontaine


True Cross Country Running With Mega Marathon Man Daren Wendell

cross_country_runner_daren_wendell100 marathons 100 days in a row

Ultra endurance, extremely fast recovery, mental toughness – we’ve got it all in this interview. Daren Wendell recently ran across America – 29 miles a day, 100 days in a row. A lot easier said than done. Yes, it’s kind of the Forest Gump thing except Daren isn’t a Hollywood invention.

In the process he’s raised nearly 150,000 dollars for the charity Active Water, which  brings safe water to people in Ethiopia. You can still donate on the website

He’s a man with quite a bit of endurance experience including in recent years cycling 4, 400 miles across the country, walking 3,400 miles across the country, hiking the length of the Appalachian Trail and swimming 50.6 miles across Lake Michigan, and not without some negative consequences, as you’ll hear in this interview.

Sports Coach Radio dot com is a weekly series of interviews with world-leading coaches, sports scientists and writers. It’s hosted by Glenn Whitney, a mentor to coaches and a leadership advisor. Twitter is a good place to keep up with us – the handle is @sportscoachtalk.

Topics: Marathons, cross country running, ultra endurance, extremely fast recovery, mental toughness, Ethiopia, Active Water


Mental Toughness Expert Rob Bell on the Psychology of the Pivotal Moment

Performing under pressure; handling anxiety
This week sports psychologist and mental toughness expert Rob Bell joins us. He’s got a huge depth of experience in golf, distance running and swimming and works across a wide range of other sports. He’s also served as a caddy in numerous top PGA events which gives him a unique perspective on putting anxiety, known as the “yips.”

Rob has a PhD from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, is widely published in professional journals and is the author of the very engaging book The Hinge – The Importance of Mental Toughness. I also highly recommend you check out his short film NO FEAR on You Tube.
mental-toughness-sports-psychologist-golf-psychologist-rob-bell-the-hinge is a weekly series of interviews with world-class coaches, sports scientists and sports writers. It’s hosted by Glenn Whitney, a mentor to coaches and a leadership advisor.

You can follow us Twitter, where we post coaching news and tips just about every day of the week. The handle is @sportscoachtalk.

If you enjoy the show, please support it by posting a short review on the Apple iTunes page – just a couple of sentences will do the trick.

Topics: Mental toughness, sports psychology, yips, choking, performing under pressure, mood management, golf psychology, resilience


A Winning Mindset and Overcoming Adversity With Sports Psychologist Jim Taylor

Power of Visualization and Mental Preparation
Sports psychology this week, with one of the country’s leading practitioners.

Dr. Jim Taylor has been a consultant for the United States and Japanese Ski Teams, the United States Tennis Association, and USA Triathlon, and has also worked with world-class athletes in cycling, track and field, swimming, football, golf and baseball. He has been invited to lecture by the Olympic Committees of Spain, France, Poland, and the U.S., and has consulted with the Athletic Departments at Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley.

There is tons of great information on his website: and from there you can get links to the excellent articles he writes for the Huffington Post and Psychology Today.

Sports Coach Radio is a series of weekly in-depth interviews with world-class sports leaders, coaches and sports scientists. It’s hosted by Glenn Whitney, a coaching adviser and leadership consultant. Follow us on Twitter, where we post coaching tips and links to interesting articles just about every day of the week. The handle is @sportscoachtalk. And we’d be grateful if you’d leave a short review of the show on the Apple iTunes page.

Key topics: Sports psychology, visualization for sports, mental training, mind coach, winning mindset, overcoming adversity, life after competition, Jim Taylor, positive focus, mental preparation, innner game


Conquer Nerves, Keep it Simple and Enjoy Yourself: Downhill Mental Toughness

mental-tougness-downhill-travis-ganongThis is what world-class self confidence sounds like: Long-shot downhill ski racer Travis Ganong of the United States. His belief in himself has been building up over time, since last year’s Olympic in Sochi, where he finished fifth. Now he’s the 2015 Silver Medallist in the downhill World Championship, at Beaver Creek, Colorado.

“Sochi was a great race for me. After that, I just kind of took off. This is a building process. You have to learn how to ski downhill. It’s such a dangerous sport and on the limit, you have to know how to ride that fine line between risk and reward and know how to get to that reward and know how to get to that reward at the end of the day.

“I knew could ski fast, I knew I had it in me to be competitive at the highest level. It was just a matter of figuring out how to conquer the nerves and conquer the over-excitement of being at these big events.”

“I woke up and I just told myself – ‘Hey, be relaxed. You’ve been skiing your whole life. You know how to ski. Don’t think about it, just go have fun and enjoy the day. Make some good turns and keep in simple…’ I love skiing. I have a passion for it.”

Topics: Mental toughness, focus under pressure, self talk, self belief, conquer nerves, keep it simple & enjoy yourself: self-confidence




Sport Science’s Preeminent Iconoclast: Tim Noakes

Central Governor, Hydration, Endurance Athletes


 Brain-Body Connections and Low-Carb Fuelling

It’s an honour to have Professor Tim Noakes back on the show. He’s one of the world’s leading sports scientists, with special expertise marathons, ultra running and other long endurance events.

Professor Noakes is as active as ever, despite retiring recently from the University of Cape Town’s Exercise Science and Sports Medicine Group, which he founded.
He’s now a particularly strong proponent of low-carb, high-fat approaches to weight loss and athletic performance. We talk about that, plus hydration and, of course, the Central Governor Model, a highly influential approach to understanding the relationship of the brain and the body in high performance sport.

He’s also co-authored a couple of books since we last spoke: The Real Meal Revolution, and Challenging Belief – Memoirs of a Career.
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