Building a Performance Culture – Paul O’Neill AEP

Building a Performance Culture

We hear the media and professional coaches talk all the time about performance culture, but what is culture and how can we improve it?

A performance culture is a team environment that ensures athlete adherence to the program, and complete buy-in where the athlete believes that what they are doing will make them better. This leads to athlete striving to get better and doing whatever it takes to make this happen.

This sounds amazing to coaches but it can be a struggle to get your athletes on board.

So how do we go about establishing a performance culture? There is certainly no one size fits all approach, however there are a couple of things you can try to get you and your athletes a step closer to performance culture.

Firstly, educate your athletes. You can’t really expect your athletes to buy-in to what you are asking them to do if you don’t tell them why. A lot of athletes will already have some beliefs around what they need to do to improve, so if you are asking them to do something that is new to them or sounds like the opposite of what they have been told to do in the past, you will need to tell them why they are doing it. It is this knowledge that will enable the athlete to then start making good decisions on their own, leading to athletes taking the initiative and doing the right things without being asked.

Secondly, empower your athletes. Once you have educated the team as to the why behind their training, you can now empower your athletes to act on that knowledge. This can be as simply as getting a couple of the team to run the warm-up or cool-downs or even just having the team leave the gym cleaner than when they walked in is a great way for them to start taking ownership and responsibility for their own program.

Finally, hold up your side of the bargain. It is extremely important for you as a coach to do exactly, if not more, than what you expect of your athletes. If you expect them to be early to training, then you need to be there before them. If you expect them to be excited and energetic, then you need to bring the energy.

At the end of the day if you can show your athletes that you commit your time, energy into their program, and that you care about their health, safety and performance, that will go along way to ensuring that your athletes buy-in to the program.