How Emotional skills are given value during the corona crisis
The well-being of children and young people is being put to the test as a result of the corona crisis. Restrictions on hobbies and leisure activities significantly impair children’s and young people’s opportunities for meaningful activities, face-to-face encounters, and experiences of success and ability.
Uncertainty and worry about the future have been a daily occurrence for many young athletes and their coaches for several months. When will we be able to practice together again?
Is there any competition this year? How do we maintain team spirit and motivation? Is it safe to get together at all?
The National Children’s Strategy Corona Task Force recognizes these concerns and emphasizes that special attention should be paid to caring for and empathizing with others in hobbies during exceptional arrangements.
It is about emotional skills that can support the well-being and resilience of young athletes – but also coaches.
Four emotional tools to support coaching
According to Marc Brackett, director of research and education at Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence , in an emotional environment that utilizes emotions (such as a hobby group or school), children and adults understand and manage their emotions, set and achieve positive goals, have compassion for each other, and make responsible decisions.
An emotional operating environment sounds like a great goal, but where to start?
Brackett and partners at Yale have developed the RULER model , which is used in thousands of schools around the world , and provides useful tools for strengthening emotional skills. The five components of the model are
- recognizing emotions
- understanding emotions
- expressing emotions
- regulating emotions
The RULER model is used with four “anchor tools” that approach emotional skills from different perspective.
1. What do we want to feel? A common goal to create a positive environment
The Charter Anchor Tool is about “hobby group” or team “room board” or creating and committing to a common goal.
The reflection on strengthening emotional skills collectively answers two key questions:
As a hobby group / team and athletes, we want to feel …
1. So that we can feel this way, together we make sure that …
The purpose of the discussion is to give young athletes the opportunity to share their own feelings, desires and values, and to create a psychologically safe atmosphere and commitment to jointly agreed goals.
The more often jointly agreed goals are reviewed and updated, the more diverse young athletes will be able to use and develop their emotional skills, such as self-awareness, social awareness, and responsible decision-making.
2. How do I deal with emotional turmoil? Inch break to get along
The Meta-Moment anchor tool is about “conscious inch break”. With this tool, young athletes learn to stop themselves at a difficult time, avoid acting in the power of emotional capture, and find useful ways to regulate their emotions and behavior.
There are four steps to a conscious inch break:
- The first step is to learn to identify and perceive changes in your own thinking, body, or behavior during a difficult moment.
- On the second step, you learn to avoid acting in an emotional turmoil by stopping and breathing calmly for a while.
- In the third stage, one learns to activate the image of the “best version of oneself,” that is, the image of what one would like to be for oneself and others.
- The fourth level teaches you how to choose the appropriate way to regulate your own feelings and behavior.
A conscious inch break supports the systematic processing of emotions. This also gives the coach a good tool to teach and support the regulation of players ’emotions: the coach recognizes the player’s emotional turmoil, urges them to take a conscious moment and take a deep breath, imagine the best version of themselves and act according to this image as they see fit.
3. How do I feel? Get to know your emotions with an emotion meter
With the help of the Mood Meter tool, young athletes become more aware of their own feelings. Mood Meter has been made into an English-language telephone application, but various emotion maps or meters work just as well.
For example, young athletes can be instructed to fill in emotional metrics for a specific time period to see what different emotions they experienced during that training period. This can be done either during workouts or later at home.
It is essential that young athletes use the emotion meter to identify the emotions they experience, but also to consider the causes and consequences of their emotions, to name their emotions more precisely, and to think about the best ways to express and regulate these emotions.
4. How do I want to proceed? An action plan for difficult moments and conflicts
The Blueprint Anchor Tool is about an action plan for challenging moments that also strengthens your compassion skills and perspective-taking ability.
The action plan builds on questions that help young athletes reflect on and analyze their own and others ’emotional reactions and the causes and consequences of behavior in difficult moments:
1. Describe the situation or event in detail.
2. What feelings did I feel during the situation, and what other people might have felt?
3. What caused these feelings for myself and others?
4. How did I express and regulate my feelings in the situation? What about others?
5. What could I have done better in the situation? What can I do now?
Young athletes can be instructed to take advantage of the action plan in dealing with difficult moments. Completing the action plan develops a variety of emotional skills, such as self-awareness, social awareness, self-management, and responsible decision-making.
To learn emotional skills in the Young Mind in Sports on the way to action
Coaches should go boldly to learn emotional skills together with young athletes. These skills will certainly benefit both the coaches themselves and the children and young people involved.
Checklist provides a good starting point for teaching and practicing emotional skills:
- Emotional skills are best taught by the example of a coach, the wording of emotions, and an accepting attitude toward emotions and their handling.
- The coach’s humanity and the example of expressing one’s own feelings is instructive – one should not underestimate the ability of children and young people to empathize with genuine emotions and events.
- Always start and stop learning emotional skills in a positive emotional state because positive emotions make it easier to deal with difficult things.
- Teach young athletes to rely on other people as well, especially in the face of difficult emotions.
- The positive feelings experienced together are especially helpful for young athletes, so identify and reinforce the positive moments experienced together and stop at them.
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