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Solutions-Based Interventions

Once upon a time there were two psychologists called Steve De Shazer and Insoo Kim Berg.

While working in their clinical practice they noticed something curious about the people they were treating who were experiencing addiction and mental health problems.

They noticed that the 'problem' wasn't always present. For example, those with alcoholism didn't always want a drink. Those with clinical depression weren't always depressed. This led them to change their therapeutic approach. Rather than extensively talking about the 'problem' they started to speak with patients about the times when they didn't want to drink or didn't feel depressed. They engaged in 'solution-talk'. They spoke to them about the resources that helped them, the strengths they had, the positive environments they engaged with.

What has this got to do with sport? Because, as a coach, you can use this framework with your players to help them find solutions… Those who lack confidence can be questioned about the time they were confident. What did that look like? What were they doing? What behaviors were they engaging with? Those who are easily distracted still have periods during games when they are focused and paying attention. What does that look like? What are they focusing on? What are they striving to achieve? What behaviors are they engaging in? Ultimately, taking a solution-focused approach when working on player psychology is positive and pragmatic.

We are not perfect. That’s a fact. We want the athletes to think about what they WANT to do (solutions) rather than remember the negatives in the past. When we focus on our controllables (thoughts, emotions, and actions), our growth, productive mindset appears.

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