The Power of Coaching published by Islay Auty BA FBHS and Penny Pollard MA is a fantastic book for horse rider and trainer to read. With its innovative approach to coaching where the authors have merged their knowledge of equestrian sport with commercial business management, this enables a more practical approach and the release of more potential in equestrian athletes.
Haynet members Sarah Porter and Vanessa Hill recently read the book to give us their thoughts on the book with both finding it an educating and interesting read:
“This is an excellent book that I can highly recommend. It will be an excellent reference book for any established coach or anyone taking their coaching qualifications.
For the rider, and this is my only criticism of the book, who the authors call the learner, which to me gives the impression of a beginner, it really defines what to expect and look for in a coach, however, it is aimed at riders of all levels.
There are seven chapters, all colour coded, which give good and bad examples of coaching from both the Equestrian and Business worlds. The core values of a good coach are explored, as are the different ways people like to learn and how different ages and sexes learn at different paces, and how the coach needs to adapt to this.
A valid point is made that the coach needs to be someone the learner can confide in, and ask questions of without feeling stupid, or made to look daft in front of others, also that the rider is not the only person involved, but also parents, partners, owners, sponsors and the horse. It also looks at problems facing the rider, like work / school commitments, family problems and even lack of finances, and how a good coach can help with suggestions to resolve these issues.
Different aspects are looked at such as rider fitness, sports psychology, NLP, and Mindfulness, and how a good coach should be prepared to point the learner in the direction of someone to help with these things.
The role of the horse is explored in one chapter, making an excellent point that the horse is not involved in establishing the riders goals, but would happily spend all day grazing in the field, and that we must treat them with empathy to achieve a happy equine athlete .
Some good ways of extra learning are suggested, such as volunteering as a steward at a good show, writing for a dressage judge and helping a vet at an endurance ride, also that all the relevant disciplines hold training courses, and a lot can be learnt from sitting in and watching an experienced coach/rider. There is also a list of further reading and useful contact details.
Having read this book, I have learnt I am a intrinsically motivated learner, who's learning style is a activist, meaning I like to have a go. I have also booked myself on a Mindfulness course and upped my fitness routine with Tai-chi as well as my Pilates for my core strength. I am also looking for a new coach, as after reading this book it has made me aware of my current one’s shortcomings, and how I had got into a habit of putting up with things.
Anyone reading this book can learn what type of learner they are, which applies to both the rider and coach, which will help with their self-awareness. The biggest thing I took away from the book is that learning should be regarded as an investment, a ongoing thing, and that your coach should be a confidant and someone you respect” – Vanessa Hill
“An informative and well written text which is equally relevant to professionals seeking to further develop their coaching techniques as it is to trainee coaches, riders and their supporters.
The authors address the psychology of coaching on several levels including emotionally and spiritually but most importantly they recognise that unlike the majority of athletes the equestrian athlete has a living, thinking and frequently unpredictable piece of equipment – the horse. The relationships between horse – rider – trainer are explored using scenarios that are easy to relate to and provide insights to problems and possible solutions.
From my perspective as a parent of a young rider I was quickly engaged by the book; recognising situations both positive and negative from our training experiences; and have gathered tools to use in the future. I am sure that I will be revisiting this book for guidance as and when we have new training challenges and would recommend it to others.” – Sarah Porter
This article was first published on Haynet on the 24/11/2016 and can be read in full here.