CONFLICTS in sports occur frequently because of the pressure of competition. It can transpire any time before, during, or after competition when athletes are most stressed or excited. Such conflicts are amplified in expression and feeling due to the athletes’ strong need and desire to win. Conflicts among athletes, or between an athlete and coach, can destroy an entire career in a short period of time. Athletes may spend 15-20 years training (e.g. to compete and win in the Olympic Games), but if 3 months before the competition they get involved in a serious conflict, it can destroy all their hard work and effort put forth preparing for a major event. Conflict may even cause athletes to withdraw from competition. Seemingly trivial incidents can become very crucial when maximum performance and results are called for.
Identifying the nature of the conflict, and finding solutions is possible only through an understanding of the characters of the parties involved in the dispute. The Optimax Character Assessment and Life-Balance Assessment tools are able to instantly identify the causes and suggest solutions to minimize or even eliminate conflict.
ATHLETE-COACH conflict often occurs because both parties do not understand each other’s characters. Take the example of a coach and athlete, both with low tolerance. Because of their tolerance level each will initially approach any situation with a negative or opposing attitude. This is not due to their lack of respect for each other, but to a lack of understanding of the way a particular character type communicates. Being aware of the different types of characters, allows one to adjust his or her behaviour in order to achieve a desired response from the other person.
ATHLETE-ATHLETE conflict can lead to a much more dramatic outcome. There are documented cases where an athlete on the same performance level as another athlete and representing the same country tried to sabotage the success of the other. Dr. Peter Guy, from Optimax, was at one point involved in a similar type of conflict. He was able to prevent it escalating into an untenable situation through the use of Character Assessment. This tool clarified the dynamics of the relationship between these two athletes and he was successful in developing a healthy, competitive and positive relationship among the athletes. In the end, both athletes acknowledged the other as the best athlete in the world diffusing the situation before a major competition.