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Coaching Athletes to Be Their Best: Motivational Interviewing in Sports
Stephen Rollnick, Jonathan Fader, Jeff Breckon, and Theresa B. Moyers
Guilford Press / Softcover / Nov 2019
9781462541263 (ISBN-10: 1462541267)
Sport & Exercise Psychology / Motivational Interviewing
reg price: $35.50 our price: $ 31.95
210 pages
In Stock (Ships within one business day)

The measure of a great coach is bringing the best out of athletes. This is the first guide to motivational interviewing (MI)—the proven approach to harnessing the power of conversations to build relationships and trust—for coaches, sport psychologists, training and rehabilitation specialists, and other affiliated staff. Revealing why conventional ways of giving feedback and addressing conflict are often counterproductive, the book presents tried-and-tested methods for getting through to athletes and helping them to thrive. Leading sport psychologists and MI experts—including MI codeveloper Stephen Rollnick—provide effective strategies to fire up motivation, promote ownership of personal goals, address problem behavior on and off the field, enhance performance, and improve teamwork. Included are step-by-step examples and inspiring stories from coaches at all levels. Purchasers get access to a Web page where they can download and print the book's reproducible quick-reference sheets on key MI skills.

This title is part of the Applications of Motivational Interviewing Series , edited by Stephen Rollnick, William R. Miller, and Theresa B. Moyers.


“MI is a scientifically validated technique for strengthening relationships through effective communication. This book shows how to use MI to connect with athletes and help them find solutions to problems. It is easy to read, with lots of real-life examples and practical suggestions for getting athletes to take ownership of their actions. If you want to have a positive impact on athletes, develop trusting relationships, and enhance motivation, then this book is for you. I highly recommend it as a text for Psychology of Coaching classes; effective communication between coaches and athletes is central to making sports a positive experience.”

—Robert Weinberg, PhD, Department of Kinesiology and Health, Miami University

“The information age offers endless possibilities that can help teams and organizations succeed. But we can never forget the importance of connecting as people and building a winning culture of communication, trust, and teamwork. I appreciate the insights of Coaching Athletes to Be Their Best, and its focus on the motivational power of a common purpose.”

—Hall of Famer Joe Torre, four-time World Series champion manager of the New York Yankees and MLB’s Chief Baseball Officer

Table of Contents:

I. Motivational Interviewing

1. A Different Approach

2. Mindset

3. Method

4. Skills

5. Affirming

6. Rolling with Athlete Resistance to Change

II. Toolbox

7. Connecting Rapidly

8. Lifting Motivation: Three Strategies

9. Setting Goals and Making Plans

10. Giving Advice and Feedback

III. Around the Field

11. Teamwork 1: Developing Social Skills

12. Teamwork 2: Making Decisions as a Unit

13. Changing Behavior and Lifestyle

14. Coaching in Poor Communities, with Rob Maitra

15. Connecting and Culture Change

IV. MI Playbook

1. Coaching Mastery. A Guide for Parents, Fellow Coaches, and Support Staff

2. Relationships: The Foundation of Masterful Coaching

3. Empathy: Becoming a Better Coach

4. Overview of Motivational Interviewing

5. MI Mindset

6. Learning MI

7. Useful Questions

8. Listening: Getting the Basics Right

9. Summaries

10. Teamwork 1: Improving Social Skills

11. Teamwork 2: Making Decisions as a Unit

Appendix: Resources


About the Authors:

Stephen Rollnick, PhD, is Honorary Distinguished Professor in the School of Medicine, Cardiff University, Wales, United Kingdom. He is a codeveloper of motivational interviewing, with a career in clinical psychology and academia that focused on how to improve conversations about change. He has worked in diverse fields, with special interests in mental health and long-term health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and HIV/AIDS. Dr. Rollnick has published widely in scientific journals and has written many books on helping people to change behavior. He is coauthor (with William R. Miller) of the classic work Motivational Interviewing: Helping People Change, now in its third edition. He has traveled worldwide to train practitioners in many settings and cultures, and now works as a trainer and consultant in healthcare and sports.

Jonathan Fader, PhD, a clinical and performance psychologist, is cofounder of Union Square Practice, a mental health center, and SportStrata, a performance coaching group, both in New York City. He regularly works with professional athletes in Major League Baseball and the National Football League, and spent 11 combined years with the New York Mets and the New York Giants. Dr. Fader also works with performing artists,entrepreneurs, businesses, schools, health care professionals, and first responders, and speaks to groups on the topics of motivation, improving performance, stress reduction, improved communication, and team building. He is a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers. His website is

Jeff Breckon, PhD, is a Chartered Sport and Exercise Psychologist and member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers. Based in Sheffield, United Kingdom, he provides MI training to organizations across the United Kingdom, Europe, and North America; has published over 40 peer-reviewed articles; and presents internationally on the role of MI in sport, exercise, and health contexts. Dr Breckon has worked clinically in sport and health contexts since 1992. His main area of interest is the role of MI in building a therapeutic alliance between practitioners and clients. He has played cricket in India and South Africa and played and coached volleyball and soccer in the United Kingdom and United States.

Theresa B. Moyers, PhD, is Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of New Mexico, where she conducts research on treatments for addictive behaviors, with a focus on motivational interviewing (MI). Her primary interests are identifying the active ingredients of MI as well optimal methods for disseminating it in addictions settings. Dr. Moyers has published more than 35 peer-reviewed articles and has presented on MI and addictions treatment in 16 countries. She is a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers. In addition to her academic pursuits, she trains and competes with her border collie in the sport of dog agility.

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