Coaching Academy: More offerings, less pre-programming

As we have seen in the past three webinars with Philipp, dialog is a matter of the heart for him. Philipp gives a lot of space for personal exchange with his athletes. This quality is the core of his training philosophy and has accompanied him even before his career as a coach.

As you know, Philipp started as a high school teacher for German and sports, where he put kids on the right track. During this journey he came into contact with the concept of dialogic learning, among other things. The experiences he had with the concept and in dealing with people with different abilities still shape him today.

Open your mind & create understanding

Every athlete has a goal in mind. Let your counterpart tell you about it. Even if it’s an ambitious wish, keep an open mind and don’t judge too quickly – after all, you have experience in taking partial steps with athletes. It is their goals that drive them and give them the potential to take the necessary path in the first place. That’s why the path should be designed together. As a coach, think about how your athlete will be enabled to reach his or her potential. This can be, for example, with a hint about his or her lifestyle habits. For this, you need to understand him or her. Especially when you practice the combination of convergent and divergent thinking, you create a dialogue. Thanks to divergent thinking, you are more empathetic and can grasp what is happening around your athletes (including environmental influences). Insights about, for example, stress levels or subjective exhaustion give you a lot of clues about what the athletes can handle. You can now combine this information with your sport-specific framework and develop solutions or training programs thanks to convergent thinking.

The goal is the starting point of development

In the search for the optimal conditions for athletic success, a competition for knowledge develops among coaches. Knowledge about correlations that are closely linked to performance optimization. Often it is about correcting movement patterns or achieving more performance with the training program. Dialogic learning brings you to a completely different level in working with your athletes. In addition to the conversation itself, it’s also about how good you are at communicating knowledge. Philipp talks about making offers to the athletes in your training planning. They can then use them individually. It is important here that you make the athletes’ development potential visible to them so that they can also use it and, above all, so that they can see that they are making progress. In this way, you don’t just pre-program the training, but actively deal with it together with the athletes. At this point, I take up an input from the first webinar: the more you know about your athletes, the better you can respond to them with your offers and motivate them.

Ask how athletes feel

What do the athletes perceive? How do they understand your plan? Do they know why they should do the exercises? Clarify these questions together. When you get a sense of how athletes are processing your cues and what else is going on with them, you can better address their needs and make more targeted offers to specifically trigger a developmental step. You will also be in a better position to decide whether you might need to take a step back in order to bring about success. A dialog is actually clearly structured in this regard. For example, in a feedback conversation, it is important to start with the positive aspects before addressing the less good ones. Reinforce the things that succeed. But also report back those that are not quite up to par. In doing so, you initiate a process of higher development. There should always be room for questions and for explaining your own point of view, so that you and your counterpart have the chance to reflect on the information and to better understand it. This strengthens the interpersonal relationship. You will become an even stronger duo – even if you coach many athletes – that will function together even in more critical times.


Besides Laura, Philipp himself is probably his biggest critic. He emphasizes that training is important to have a solid basis to formulate suitable offers. Thanks to the dialogue, you are in a reciprocal relationship with your athletes. Reflecting on yourself should not be neglected. Use both feedbacks, you will see, it is worth it! A mirror will be held up to you, giving you an additional push to improve the performance (of your athletes and your own).

Want to hear the tips in Philipp’s words? Then look here r macos/deepLFree.translatedWithDeepL.text

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