Tag: Simon Almaer

In the Wake of Yeo’s Firing, How Do Coaching Changes Affect Team Performance?

By: Premier Sport Psychology

By: Premier Intern Staff

 

Last weekend’s game against the Boston Bruins would prove to be Yeo’s last with the Wild. After yet another loss for the team, Yeo was let go after five years—though he thought his time would continue since General Manager Chuck Fletcher told him that his job was safe just a week earlier. Even after being told that he was fired, he fought for more time to work with the team, not wanting to leave them during the middle of the season. Yeo was quickly replaced by John Torchetti of the Iowa Wild until a more permanent option is found.

The unexpectedness of Yeo’s removal and the certainty he held in his position make the situation tough to handle as a coach. Last Monday the Wild played for the first time under Torchetti—a win—which brings great anticipation for the rest of the season. “They’ll want to be hungry to come out and prove themselves again,” Torchetti said, “But we just want them feeling good about themselves, and then we’ll make our corrections and adjustments, and keep on improving and getting better.” He is not sure what changes need to happen within the Wild yet, but he will make further assessments as the season continues.

Studies show that this change in the coaching staff will affect the team’s performance. McTeer White, and Persad (1995) assert, “In either case the players are relieved when an unpopular* coach is replaced and develop renewed optimism in the short-term.” The players may be relieved by getting a new coach, hoping that this will be the changing factor in their team’s performance. A new coach may improve performance, but it is usually not for long. Lago-Penas (2011) states the following: “The empirical analysis shows that the shock effect of a turnover has a positive impact on team performance over time. Results reveal no impact of coach turnover in the long term. The favorable short-term impact on team performance of a coach turnover is followed by continued gradual worsening in the half of a term.” This short term fix leads to a vicious cycle of coach turnover within the team, which is common in sports across the board and happens at all levels of performance ranging from high school to professional. Whether it is a livelihood or a scholarship that becomes uncertain, every level of play has its own set of problems when hiring a new coach midseason.

However, the dismissal of a coach could lead to a divided team as players split their loyalties between the old coach and the new coach. Simon Almaer, MA MBA, said that when a new coach is hired midseason it is like “hitting a reset button; hierarchies, positions, playtime, and roles are put into question.” This creates an uncertain and unsettling dynamic within the team, which may cause tension. Almaer’s advice for athletes trying to stay consistent through team changes? Focus on accepting the new situation, being responsible for their own game, and minimizing distractions. Building a relationship with the new coach is also helpful, in order to be more comfortable with the situation. Finally, athletes should keep it simple by trying their best and having a good attitude about the new changes within the team.

*We are not implying that Yeo was unpopular; it is just a direct quote about coaching changes in general.

Sources:

Lago-Peñas, C. (2011). Coach Mid-Season Replacement and Team Performance in Professional Soccer. Journal of Human Kinetics, 28, 115–122. http://doi.org/10.2478/v10078-011-0028-7

McTeer, W., White, P. G., & Persad, S. (1995). Manager/coach mid-season replacement and team performance in professional team sport. Journal of Sport Behavior, 18(1), 58. Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/215868828?accountid=8593

 

You have a question? We have an answer. — Becoming a Sport Psychologist: Part 1

By: Premier Sport Psychology

If you have a question, please let us know via Facebook or Twitter! We hope to answer it in a future blog!

With sport psychology becoming a growing field—especially so since many professional teams are hiring people to work with their athletes on the mental side, many are wondering how one makes a career in sport psychology and what it takes. Below are some commonly asked questions and answers to help get you started.

What are sport psychologists and how do they differ from mental game coaches?

Most generally, sport psychologists are licensed psychologists who are trained in psychological skills training, athletes’ mental health, team dynamics in sports settings, psychological factors that influence performance, assessment of psychological and performance variables, and more. Mental game coaches also work with athletes on the performance side of sport, but they do not have specific training in mental health and are not licensed. You know the old saying that every square is a rectangle, but not every rectangle is a square? Every sport psychologist is a mental game coach, but not every mental game coach is a sport psychologist. For more information about sport psychology, click here.

Do I need to go to graduate school to become a sport psychologist?

Yes. In order to become a full-fledged licensed psychologist, you’ll need to earn either a Ph.D. or Psy.D. and then complete further requirements for licensure depending on which state you want to practice in.

Is there only one set path to becoming a sport psychologist/mental skills coach?

Absolutely not! Our sport psychologists have all had very unique experiences. Learn more about how they got where they are by clicking below.

Dr. Justin Anderson

Dr. Carlin Anderson

Dr. Alexandra Wagener

Simon Almaer

As a student, what kind of experience should I be trying to get?

As far as experience goes, working with athletes of any level will help you along the road, as will doing research. Reach out to various sport psychologists and firms for advice and to see if they have any internships—many will post information on their websites. In order to find sport psychologists, quick Google searches will take you a long way, and check out AASP’s (Association for Applied Sport Psychology) website.

I want to open up my own sport psychology practice. Any advice on what I need to know?

Make sure you know how to run a business and who you can reach out to for help. While a doctorate degree will help you become a sport psychologist, it won’t necessarily help you with the day-to-day operations of owning your own company.

I’d like to work with elite athletes—how can I get there?

First, realize that many people want to work with elite and professional athletes, so don’t be upset if it doesn’t happen right away! You need time to prove yourself and get the most experience that you can. Work with colleges and universities: try to get a position on their medical staff and work with athletes there. It may not happen right away, but you can put in the time and the effort!

Good luck to all on your sport psychology journey, and check back for future blogs answering more questions! Again, if you have a question, please let us know via Facebook or Twitter

Meet our Newest Mental Skills Coach, Simon Almaer

By: Premier Sport Psychology

Premier Sport Psychology is excited to have Simon Almaer as our newest mental skills coach. Simon will be working with individuals and teams, helping them to achieve their full potential. Below is a quick interview with Simon so you can get to know your potential mental skills coach!

All right, Simon, let’s start with a bit about your background.

Simon: Well, I was born in London, England. Sports were a big part of my life growing up, and my primary sport of choice was cricket. That was, from age 6 to 21, other than my studies, that was my passion. My dad was a high level coach, and so I represented my county (similar to a U.S. state) on regional teams as a youth player, and then when I got to university, I had the opportunity to play first class cricket (akin to the professional level). I went to Oxford to study Chemistry and received both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees before moving to the states in 1991—largely to marry my wife who is from Minnesota.

What has your career looked like since moving to Minnesota?

Simon: I worked in Corporate America for 20+ years for companies like Pillsbury and Cargill and had a wide range of roles during that time. After starting as a scientist I moved into marketing and general management roles working on brands like Häagen Dazs and Pillsbury. During that time I got my MBA from the University of Minnesota. I had a lot of fun experiences working around the globe with various companies.

What made you leave Corporate America for sport psychology?

Simon: I played cricket for my first few years in the states, but after hanging up my cricket bat I focused my sports passion on coaching soccer. I’ve coached youth soccer in the Twin Cities for 15 years and still do. I have a number of different coaching licenses and degrees, and so as I came up on 20 or so years in Corporate America I started to think about how to better fuel my passion for working with young people and athletes to help them reach their full potential. I wanted to pursue a different area of study in a different professional area and so I pursued a sport psychology degree through Mankato State. I am also working on my certification by the professional association AASP (Association for Applied Sport Psychology).

What work are you doing with Premier?

Simon: My emphasis at Premier is working both with individuals and teams on performance enhancement. I’m a mental skills coach—whether its athletes, performers, or people in the business world, my emphasis is helping them get better at what they love doing. I love working with coaches and administrators—people who are charged with developing their athletes. The people who work with the athletes day in and day out deserve time and attention so they can develop their skills and, from being a coach, I believe that can often have a bigger impact on the system of youth sports. I want to be a positive influence in the youth sport climate—I think I have something to share and I have a real passion for it.

Thanks for taking the time to do to this get-to-know-you. To wrap it up, can you give us one fun fact about yourself?

Simon: During my first few years in Corporate America I still played cricket. The highlight was playing on the U.S. National Team against Canada in the 150th year anniversary of that match.

To learn more about Simon, check out his bio or call our office at 952.835.8513.