Collaboration is Always the Best Approach!
Updated: Aug 23, 2019
Whether you are a coach, an athletic therapist, a sport psychology consultant or a strength and conditioning coach, adopting a collaborative approach is the best way to keep the athlete's best interest in mind. Combining the expertise of professionals from different fields will provide the athlete with valuable knowledge, which will allow for optimal performance. However, it is crucial that the given information is coherent and complementary. This can be achieved by considering the following elements: keeping an open line of communication among professionals and making sure they are operating within their scope of practice. To put it simply, everyone has to do his/her job without overstepping boundaries and relay key information to colleagues (while respecting confidentiality). Applying both principles at all times will ensure that the athlete is surrounded with a solid and effective support system. Conversely, if there is improper communication among the staff, the athlete could experience things such as lack of progress, a feeling of frustration and loss of motivation. To avoid these consequences, regular staff meetings are necessary, from the pre-season to the off-season. These can be used to share observations or concerns, present injury reports, obtain progress updates, build weekly schedules, etc. In my experience, lack of time is rarely an issue, as they are usually short in length. Once everyone is on the same page, the team can productively move in the right direction.
How do I know if I am a good collaborator? Great collaborators are objective, open-minded and transparent, but above all, they are task-oriented rather than ego-oriented. It's important to remember: it is not about you (or your colleague). The athlete's physical and mental well-being should always be the main priority. As long as you are acting in ways that are supporting this objective, you are doing your job.
Team work makes the dream work.