Wissenschaftlicher Vortrag

15th European Congress of Sports and Exercise Psychology, July 2019, Münster, Germany

Talking is silver, silence is gold, or maybe not!? A case study on communication and leadership in elite sports

Dr. Michele Ufer

Key words: motivation, mental toughness, organizational development, teambuilding, coordination


This presentation reports on a consulting project with a national team. The goal of the national coach was to “increase the motivation (and performance) of the athletes". But the original focus was quickly widened during the contracting from a simple "motivation / team training" for the athletes to an organizational development process in order to involve the most important players. Thus topics for systematic improvement were made accessible, which at first did not seem relevant, but whose importance in terms of athlete’s motivation was crucial, such as: communication and interface management between athletes and trainer/staff, the communication and coordination within the staff members, the leadership and self-leadership of the national coach. Tools that were used during the process are discussed in this presentation, e.g. a SYMLOG leadership assessment and solution-focused coaching. This case study shows that it can be of great value to implement an effective feedback process on athlete-staff communication which in turn may lead to significant improvements on athlete’s motivation and performance.


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