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Single Sport Interaction: is athlete engagement necessary?

An often overlooked concept is the dynamic that our experience plays in forming our on bias in respect to our sporting background. From a tennis player in a singular sporting context to a basketball player in a multi-player (team) environment, both serve as preliminaries for what’s to come. What is overlooked is the value of both singular and multi-sport dynamics for the opposing sport and thus players progress and a coaches concept and awareness of this value factor that can inadvertently enhance their players performance.

For the team athlete, they’re often reliant on the support from their teammates and are conditioned to work ‘with’ their team to achieve a desired outcome. For the singular athlete they’re conditioned to rely on themselves and do not have a ‘team’ on court at the same time to help them achieve their set objective — it’s just them and no one else. The advantage comes when we become more opened minded to crossing these skill sets as the rewards are exponential.

Learning in a multi-player environment for a single-sport athlete challenges their skill acquisition to verbal and non-verbal communication. The opposite is the case for the multi-player athlete placed into a singular environment. We can leverage sports as a whole to condition new skills in an indirect manner that leads to additional performance metrics — empowered. Not only do athletes/players learn a new skill that is largely cross-transitional whether in respect to enhancing their current performance and/or overall motor skills, often there are other benefits overlooked that range from perception, anticipation to new methods of thinking to achieve the desired outcome.

One skill that is universal is problem solving for the player/athlete. In their own sport, this has become readily accustomed so their ability to ‘solve’ is fast-tracked. When placed in an opposing environment, this ability to solve is not as readily available as the player/athlete needs to learn — quickly, how to achieve the desired outcome with a new ‘pressure’ to deal with and manage.

This pressure is either singular as whilst they’re conditioned to rely on their team for support, the single-player athlete needs to learn to rely on themselves; the opposite is true for the single-player athlete as they have a new ‘pressure to perform’ to ensure they don’t let their new teammates down. Irrespective how it is framed, this level of athlete engagement works to enhance the players/athletes performance as a new training metric is advanced.

To listen to this week’s episode for an in-depth discussion on athlete engagement and multi-player sport dynamics, head to Beyond Top 10 Tennis and look for Episode 22 to learn more.