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Motivating Your Athletes: Balancing Data, Emotion, And Relationships

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Eric Fischer (@efisch17) swam for NCAA Division III swimming powerhouse Denison University. As a senior captain and two-time Academic All-American, Eric helped lead the Big Red to four straight conference titles and two national championships. He is currently a Marketing Manager at PCA and earned his Master's degree in Sport Management at the University of San Francisco to help teach others the invaluable life lessons swimming taught him.

Here, Fischer explains a new phenomena in the coaching era: a cookie-cutter, X's and O's, data and science-based approach to training that is used to increase performance outcomes no matter the athlete. He shares his opinion that sometimes, this approach to coaching can stifle enthusiasm of athletes, and that for him, building a personal relationship with the coach that was specific to his needs was more important for his individual success.

Clearly, it is important that athletes buy in to the program put forth by the coach, but fostering an emotional and personal athlete-coach connection is an invaluable motivational aspect that should not be forgotten for coaches that use a data-driven group based approach.