Sport Psychology - Use Social Support to Improve Adherence to Summer Training Programs

Sport Psychology - Use Social Support to Improve Adherence to Summer Training Programs

Dick Moss

Many school sports require athletes to engage in a summer fitness program. Football, cross-country running, basketball are just a few examples. With the competitive season starting in early September, athletes who want to compete in these sports must absolutely show up fit and strong.

But summer training can be difficult for students. There are all the distractions of the beach, the sun and summer parties. Summer jobs can involve physical labor and long hours, leaving athletes tired and unenthusiastic about training. And most athletes must practice on their own. Many lack discipline when there are no organized practices to attend. So, how do you improve your athletes' adherence to a summer training program? Here are two ways.

Training Logs
Ask all athletes to email regular training logs to their coaches. A training log is a reality check for many athletes, who suddenly, at the end of a week, find out that they missed more practices than they thought...and then must explain that to their coach.

Social Support
Providing social support is another way to improve exercise compliance. Divide your team into groups of two, three or four. On a regular, scheduled basis (for example, every Wednesday and Sunday night), the group must make contact to discuss their training and provide encouragement to each other. Contact can be either by phone, email, MSN, Facebook or in person.

Support from teammates and peers can be highly motivational and provides a sounding board to help athletes overcome their summer-training problems and doubts.

Reference: Suzie Tuffey Riewald (PhD), Make it a Habit, NSCA's Performance Training Journal, June 2007.


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