Coaching Insights to Develop a Competitive Advantage

Mim Haigh
Sports Writer – Athlete Assessments

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Adam Haniver, The Boxing Coaches’ Podcast talks DISC, self-awareness, and developing a competitive advantage with Bo Hanson


Got a spare couple of minutes on the way to training or the weekend match? Catch the conversation between Bo Hanson and Adam Haniver on The Boxing Coaches’ Podcast. What really makes this podcast worth listening to is the way that Adam, host of The Boxing Coaches’ Podcast, asks Bo questions that surface the connections between the mechanisms and the outcomes that drive performance.

The Boxing Coaches’ Podcast takes an in-depth look at the craft of coaching, always asking the question, “can we do it better?” The podcast examines areas like skill-acquisition, sports science, learning theories, developing relationships and the nitty gritty of day-to-day boxing coaching.  

Sound similar to the issues you’re facing and the areas you’re looking into in your sport? That’s because it is. We work with literally hundreds and hundreds of teams, their coaches and administrators every year and have done for the last 13 years, at the club, College, Professional and Olympic level. What we’ve found is that similar issues affect performance across all sports worldwide, regardless of whether they’re individual or team sports.

In every code and every event, performance is improved by athlete self-awareness, the quality of communication and the relationships between the athletes themselves and their coaches. Incidentally, we also work with exercise science, sport management and sport psychology students in the classroom and the same elements drive their performance. In the podcast, Bo gives us the details on why studies like the Canadian Olympic Study confirm this connection and how the quality of the relationships and communication are common elements between medal winning Olympic athletes. Bo and Adam touch on these studies, what they reveal and how we can use this information to improve our coaching.

As well as a podcast host, Adam is an educator with DiSE, an arm of England Boxing which is committed to transforming and inspiring lives through boxing.  An awarded coach, Adam was twice named Coach Of The Year by Brighton University. His passion for boxing is paralleled by his sense of enquiry, he shares that with listeners by pulling in interesting guests who help him connect the dots, talking about the non-technical elements that affect performance.

Through his conversation with Bo, Adam signposts areas that coaches can investigate to improve their athletes’ performance. Bo explains that as a result of working with Athlete Assessments, 95% of our clients improve their performance by using our tools and techniques.

He recounts the way that Athlete Assessments works with teams and organizations who have enviable budgets and want for nothing. Bo talks about the way those teams develop a unique advantage, not through state of the art equipment or focusing on the X’s and O’s of their sport, but by valuing the differences inherent in the people who make up their teams.  

Another subject they touch on is competitive advantage, it’s a subject that’s never far from a great coach’s mind. Bo recounts his own experience as an athlete and an Olympian to examine how he developed competitive advantages and capitalized on situations to build his strengths into advantages.

He shares a replicable strategy for developing a competitive advantage that can be easily adapted to any sport and any environment.

One of the key elements of the podcast comes midway when Adam asks Bo about the connection between self-awareness and performance. It’s worth listening to the podcast for this piece alone, Bo’s answer will have your athletes making decisions for themselves in the heat of competition, when it matters the most because self-awareness leads to independence. An independent athlete is one who can make that critical decision, change direction or formulate a winning strategy in competition without direction from the coaching team.


Talking about the way that athletes need to be able to rely on themselves during competition, Bo says, “when you’re on your own you’ve got to make good decisions, and you can’t make good decisions unless you have that self-awareness.”


He also talks about the way that the self-awareness process lets you change directions. He talks about the ability to change directions or modify your style is so important during competition and developing fallback options. He says that participating in your own recovery when the game doesn’t go the way you planned is critical, because the best athletes in the world have an incredible ability to recover, to get their game back on track and get themselves in a winning position.

Self-awareness is about knowing how you do things as well as what you do. It’s about knowing your strengths and identifying your limitations so you can work on them. Once you understand yourself, then you can apply the tools and techniques to your teammates and opponents.

Further, Bo explains that self-awareness is an essential foundation for communication and building relationships – two key pillars that govern performance. Fundamentally, people are different and knowing how you go about communication and relationships allows you to customize your approach. This knowledge and ability is a huge asset, you begin to value the individual that you’re dealing with and it allows you to create an effective outcome.

Another one of so many ‘must listen’ moments comes when Bo explains how self-awareness uncovers the way an individual prefers to approach people, problems and tasks. He talks about the way an athlete can turn these preferred behaviors into strengths, the kind of strength that can become an advantage in competition.

Listen to The Boxing Coaches’ Podcast 33 minute episode on ‘Assessing Athletes With 4x Olympian Bo Hanson


Where to from here…

To get more valuable insights into coaching:

If this podcast has peaked your interest in DISC, how it can help you and your athletes optimize your performance, read on about DISC here.

At Athlete Assessments we’re here to provide you with excellence in service and to help you be your best. If there is anything we can do to be of service, don’t hesitate to contact us.

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