USOC ATHLETE PROFILES: PRE-COURSE EXERCISE
Imagine that you are the coach for Serena Williams, the winner of 23 singles Grand Slam titles. Based on her personality, traits and behaviours, how would you tailor your own coaching style to truly resonate with her?
To help you build up a picture of the profile of Serena Williams, we have provided links to articles and videos from her tennis career that highlights aspects of her inherent personality and traits. We’ve also created a list of ‘news headlines’ that represent media narratives and stories that have been topics of discussion throughout her career.
- “The Meaning of Serena Williams” - New York Times (Claudia Rankine)
- “Like It’s 1999: On Serena’s Dominance and the Passage of Time” - Grantland (Brian Phillips)
Using the content we’ve provided - as well as using your own perceptions and experiences of following Serena Williams’ career – think about where she might sit on the personality spectrum. Here are a few key questions that will help you to identify the core traits of her personality:
- What words or phrases would you use to describe her personality? For example; do you think she is outgoing or reserved? Assertive or hesitant?
- What do you think her main motivators and biggest fears could be? For example; do you think following rules and regulations is important to her? Would sudden change unsettle her?
- What working strengths and limitations would a coach encounter when coaching someone like this? For example, if you think she is highly driven and competitive, what are the likely upsides of these traits? And how might these traits also create issues?
Once you’re satisfied that you’ve identified her profile, start to think about how you would adapt your coaching style specifically for someone like Serena Williams. How would you handle different situations with her – such as building rapport with her, making an important decision, or dealing with success?
We’ve identified a selection of key areas below for you consider that are designed to zoom in on a range of different scenarios and building blocks for the relationship; make some notes on how you would approach or handle each of them and bring them to the seminar with you, where we will explore these concepts in more detail.
WHAT ARE THE HEADLINE PERSONALITY TRAITS FOR SOMEONE LIKE SERENA WILLIAMS?
- Descriptive words & phrases
- Motivators & fears
- Possible working strengths
- Possible working limitations
HOW WOULD A COACH MODIFY THEIR COACHING STYLE FOR SOMEONE LIKE SERENA WILLIAMS?
- Relationship Parameters... what are the key dynamics/principles to a coach-athlete relationship?
- Communication & Rapport... what kind of communication style would resonate with them?
- Taking Direction... how responsive are they likely to be to taking direction from a coach?
- Feedback & Reality Checks... how should a coach approach delivering feedback in an optimal way?
- Ideal Coach... what are they looking for in a coach?
- Turn Offs... and what type of coach would they want to avoid?
- Competitiveness... how would you describe their competitiveness? Example – is it win at all costs?
- Goal Setting... what type of goals will resonate with them and how would they go about pursuing goals?
- Game Planning... how responsive will they be to strategizing? What aspects of a game plan will resonate with them?
- Decision Making... how does this person make their decisions? Where might they need help from a coach?
- Training... what kind of training regime or environment would they want to work in?
- Dealing with Failure & Adversity... how well does this person deal with setbacks? How might a coach help them overcome disappointment?
- Dealing with Success... and how does this person deal with success?