Dec 5, 2020

Psychology in Sport with Iain Shippey

Iain with Wynand Claassen (Springbok captain of the Springbok tour of NZ in 1981)

About Iain

Iain Shippey founded Thincsport in an endeavor to partner with players, coaches, and parents – and consults with individual players, business leaders, coaches, schools, clubs and universities to help them seize the mental edge and develop into transformative leaders. He runs courses in Leadership and Human Performance, which incorporates the fundamental building blocks of Applied Sports Psychology. He co-authored a next-gen course with Dr. Melissa Adendorff, who is an academic, elite ballerina and performance coach. In a very exciting development, Iain is forming a new company, with Paul Mills the CEO of HFPA ( they are going to be offering new qualifications in the fields of Wellness and Human Performance Coaching in partnership with leading Performance Coaches in the USA and NZ. Among the team are Kamerion Winfrey, former NFL star, and  Ron Miller who worked at FSU, Florida State University as a strength and conditioning coach with multiple elite athletes. John Quinn the Crusaders Mental Coach also adds significant value to the team. Iain, comes to life at the intersection of professional sport, coach mentorship, and youth development – describing this as the juncture in which sport facilitates infinite possibility with Millennials and Generation Z. He is part of the SA Men’s Hockey support team, serving under the leadership of coach, Garreth Ewing as a Leadership and Culture coach.

What is a Coaching Philosophy – Part 3?

In this series of articles/blogs on Building a Coaching Philosophy, I am urging Coaches to document their approach to coaching. You are unique, have a certain skill set and have something so amazing to pass onto the next generation of athletes.

If you are the Director of Sport at a Club, University or School your coaches should share a common philosophy to coaching and similar methodologies. You should be systematically BUILDING year by year as players progress through the different age groups. It is worth taking the time to work on a document together to write down your approach. One of the most outstanding examples of this is seen in NZ rugby where there is a national approach to player development and synergy and alignment between the five Super Rugby Teams and the All Blacks. The first two points I covered in the two previous articles were:

1.  Know Yourself

2.  Know culture you want to build

What is next?

3.  Know your context and your environment

As much as it is important for you to know your personality traits, strengths and weaknesses it is important to know that environment in which you coach. How much liberty do you have to influence and change the environment or is it difficult to change anything in your context?

  • Are you coaching in an amateur or professional context?
  • Are you working with a team or individual athletes?
  • How successful is the athlete/team you are coaching?
  • Do you have adequate facilities?
  • Do you have the support of the president of your team, club or school?
  • How would you rate the support of your fans or parents?
  • Are you coaching alone, or do you have assistant coaches? Are you able to recruit some other volunteers or staff to help you coach or to assist with administration?
  • Does everyone speak the same home language i.e. English, Spanish, Afrikaans, Zulu?
  • Is your athlete/team able to buy the best equipment and clothing or are you working in a poorer community?
  • Do you have sufficient sponsorship? Are there ways that you could raise more money through fund-raising or getting additional sponsors?
  • Are your practice and match-day facilities in good condition?
  • Do you have a respected and authoritative voice in your organization or are you a new coach who is still gaining the necessary respect to bring about the change you desire? How are you going to gain a more influential voice in your club?