Empathy is the ability to imagine yourself in another person's shoes and see their world as they see it. Empathy in sport is about trying to understand the views and feelings of a coach, competitor or team-mate without judging whether you think their views and opinions are right. Empathy along with warmth and genuineness are necessary for openness and communication between a coach and an athlete and between an athlete and other members of the team.

Empathy gives you the ability to read other people—your competitors, your team members, your partner, and your manager. It enables you to gauge how other people are feeling, and it enables you to respond appropriately. Empathy is about noticing small signs that signal how other people are feeling that enable you to gain a competitive edge when you are competing.

Empathy Tips
1 Imagine yourself in another person's position and try to see the world as they see it and feel it.
2 Take time to learn about people’s personal situations, views, and concerns.
3 In conversations, look like you care and ask questions to show that you are interested in what your coach or team mates are saying.
4 Acknowledge cultural differences among competitors and recognize the value in those differences.
5 Avoid personal celebrity and aim for a combination of extreme professional determination and outward personality modesty.
6 Watch for the warning signs of stress and burnout in people around you.

What experts say

I believe in work, in connections between the players, I think what makes football great is that it is a team sport. You can win in different ways, by being more of a team, or by having better individual players. It is the team ethic that interests me, always.

Arsene Wenger Football Manager

I like to smile. I smile even when I’m nervous since it calms me down and shows my friendliness.

Yani Tseng Golfer

Do the SPQ20 and find out where you are on empathy