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How do you deal with emotions on game day?

Welcome to #womenswednesday;?a weekly online discussion with female coaches from around the World!

In partnership with?Project 500?in the UK, we pose a topic every Wednesday for to join in and send us your thoughts and experiences?via twitter or our online coaches forum. ?Since it began back in October 2014, ?thousands of coaches have taken part and shared their thoughts about everything from gender stereotyping, coach education and even sports bras! ?To see old topics and discussions, please?CLICK HERE


How do you deal with your emotions on game day? – 21st October 2015

How many of us have made a snap decision based on emotion? ?There are hundreds of decisions each day which you make based on emotions ranging from what you want to eat for lunch, how many times you snooze your alarm in the morning, not going for that work out?but do we realise when we make emotional decisions in a high pressured sports situation and do we understand the true implication of our emotions as coaches?

Ask any top coach, male or female, and they will always say to you never make a decision based on emotion. ?Here is a quote the NBA Assistant Coach Nancy Lieberman gave the FCN when asked what advice would she give to other coaches:

?Don?t make decisions based on emotion; you will almost always make the wrong decision.? You get all riled up and make a knee jerk reaction like ?Your off the team!!? or ?don?t ever talk to me again!!?.? You know what, just relax, just don?t make decisions based on emotion.? Don?t fire up, take a minute and walk away go do something else.? I think that?s the best way to handle it.?

Our decisions as coaches can make or break a game or even make or break an athletes career. ? It is our job to be the calm one, to have all the answers and to always have a plan B (and c, d, e?.).? We sit at computers and analyse hours of match footage, read up on just about every technique and tactic and spend most of our weekends in the off season at conferences and workshops filling ourselves with yet more information on how to be better coaches. ?But what use is all of this if, when it matters, our decisions are made based on emotion and not our expertise and experience?

This isn?t just about losing your temper (which is a whole other topic), but about how you control your nerves, your frustration or even panic so that you don?t make a tactical or technical decision that will negatively affect your athletes or teams performance.

So, this week, we want to ask you:

  • How do you deal with your emotions during a high pressured game / race?
  • How do you stay calm during a big match / race?
  • Do you have a ritual you go through on the day of the match / race?
  • Do you practice any meditation to strengthen your emotions?
  • Have you ever made a bad decision as a coach based on emotions?
  • Are male coaches better at keeping their emotions in check than women?


Answers from twitter & FCN forum


“This is something I really struggled with myself. ?I always thought that if I had been a talented athlete myself (which I wasn’t) it would have been useless as my nerves always got the better of me.
In my younger days as a coach, i made lots of emotional mistakes which i didn’t realise at the time how big the impact on my athletes was. ?Now on reflection, I know that.
So, now i have to really plan and think about my own behaviour on the day and also stay focussed on the task in hand and believe in my abilities as a coach.”


“Emotions do drive decisions. With experience & maturity, coaches develop emotional intelligence to respond for a desired outcome.”


“Emotional Intelligence is key to success.”


“I like the use of ‘instinct’ over ’emotion’, this tends to pay off, as part of a system!”


“We base decisions on previous experience and learning( logical) and sometimes go with a gut instinct at that time (emotional)”


“Emotions show you care, if it’s controlled and linked with the correct reason WHY-Can be so powerful!”


“those who understand how to use emotions at the right time can positively effect others.”


” I believe every decision you make has a emotion attached to it. It’s about getting the balance of; listening to your head & heart”


“Emotions drive thoughts, thoughts drive behaviour, behaviour drives performance. Ability to?understand, control and manage emotions is key. But doesn’t mean that you can’t/shouldn’t show emotion.”



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