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The management of the interpersonal space

The management of the interpersonal space

 
Goal
Summary
The advantages of mastering space between the coach and their players
 

In this article I’m going to point out the advantages of a correct management of this space. It’s always important to emphasize the advantages of something (a behaviour, choice, action, etc.) because this stimulates us to pursue our goals and/or make those changes we need to increase our efficacy. This is true for everybody: for me, for you readers who can decide at the end of your reading whether to make effective use of it or not, as well as for your players whom you ask hard work and dedication.
 
I’d like to summarize for you the many advantages of a correct use of interpersonal space:
  • Possibility of providing feedback from the players when necessary;
  • Time optimization: we have seen that varying the distance according to our familiarity with our proposals avoids wasting time, in case we have to repeat or explain the exercise again;
  • The voice arrives correctly and can be modulated as required;
  • It improves attention and reduces distractions;
  • Adopting an intimate or personal distance increases emotional involvement, which helps connecting with the player;
  • Managing dysfunctional group  dynamics, for instance  by limiting mockery  in case of a player’s mistake;
  • Increase of the group’s perceived efficacy and improvement of individual self-efficacy: To catch the meaning of this concepts I’ll ask you to imagine what might think in the long run the players of a team that hear a teammate being incessantly scold during practise and then have to pass him the ball during the match! Would they trust him? Would they credit him with any skill or competency? Would they feel that all the members of the team are equally or at least potentially capable? Not at all!  This is why it is important to correctly manage mistakes or difficult moments of young players, also adopting “the right distance”, so as to avoid him feeling judged and unskilful;
  • All the players perceive themselves as being on the same level for they feel being treated equally: This happens when I keep a social or public distance as well as when I opt for a personal or intimate distance which I choose to adopt with all the players in different moments according to specific needs (correction, support, confrontation of two players)
  • Management of the individual in the group and of the group as a collection of individuals.
The advantages are many, I listed them in random order, so that all of them justify the attention we should pay to keeping the “right distance”.
 
In conclusion, I invite you to make one final consideration: when acting as coaches, we are often more concerned about parents keeping the right distance from us and our players (their children!!) and forget how  important it is that we ourselves observe all these precautions first.

 

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