Adelaide, Australia

Holism in Sports Coaching:
Iconoclasses aim is to focus on the development of the ‘whole’ athlete (Holism) and encourage and enable athletes to reflect on the subjective, thrilling experience of sport, in parallel to the physical.

Increasingly the professional development literature in sports coaching encourages coaches to coach holistically. Yet the phrase ‘holistic coaching’ is mired in ambiguity and has the potential to become meaningless.

As an ‘ordinary, everyday’ coach, I believe we need a general understanding of the term holism, which is addressing the ‘whole’ person (more than the physical which has historically stymied athlete learning). Athletes learn verbally and non-verbally, and from hidden messages given in the sport context. An individual’s growth and development accrue as a result of direct contact with people and encounters with various situations, regardless of exactly how the coach behaves or what the nature of the sport environment. An athlete’s interaction with any given environment brings about change and therefore any learning which occurs is culturally specific.

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