Are you sure you’re doing everything you can to be the best
coach possible? Absolutely sure?
I’ve been a coach and I’ve had a lot of coaches. You know
what I’ve found? Some coaches put all the pieces together
and some just don’t invest time developing the coaching
skills that make a difference.
I can’t turn you into a coaching superstar overnight but I
can get you started with these six powerful communication
skills. I’ll break them into two groups: Verbal and
Three verbal communication skills you must master:
Don’t send your players mixed messages by telling your team
something today and then two days from now completely
contradicting yourself. Your players must be able to trust
the words that come out of your mouth.
Also, keep your tone consistent with what your words are
intending to get across. I had a coach once who, when one of
us messed up, would say, “That was great” in a dripping wet
sarcastic tone. Talk about sending us a negative message and
beating team morale into the ground!
Be honest with your team and always in a positive way. Your
team knows when mistakes are made so don’t try to ignore
them. If you try to gloss over them, you’ll lose your team’s
respect. Just be sure to correct mistakes in a positive way
that helps a player see what was done correctly but also
feel good about fixing the mistake.
When pointing out a mistake, first say what was good, then
say “and if you follow through properly, you’ll get the
proper spin on the ball”, rather than “but if you follow
through properly, you’ll get the proper spin on the ball”.
3) Be Concise
Don’t speak to your team unclearly. Think through what you
want to get across ahead of time and deliver your thoughts
in a clear, concise manner. Come right out and say it. Don’t
go off on tangents and bore your players with unnecessary
talk. Get to the point and then get the troops moving.
Three non-verbal communication skills you must master:
4) Facial Expressions
Be aware of how closely your team pays attention to what
your face is “saying”. Don’t be a phony by trying to hide
what you really feel with a fake smile or a serious blank
Realize, also, that just a simple smile can do wonders for a
struggling player or a player unsure of what they’re doing.
Show them that you’re behind them, glad to be with them and
there to help.
Don’t overdo this, though. Your players will pick up on
that. Be genuine in your coaching efforts.
5) Body Language
If you’re standing on the sideline in a way that shows you
are happy to be there and confident, how will your players
respond as opposed to you scowling around all hunched over
and looking angry? Remember to present body language that
represents enthusiasm, class and character.
Body language can also be used in the form of physical
contact such as a pat, a handshake or an arm around the
shoulder. Stay ethical, of course, but physical contact can
show your players the many emotions you feel about them –
happiness, concern, affection, approval, etc.
This one’s huge! You need to pay attention to your players.
You’ve got to focus on really seeing and hearing your
players’ verbal and non-verbal signals.
If your players keep hearing you say, “What was that?” or
“Did you say something?”, you’re in trouble and you need to
work on your listening skills big time.
Start practicing this coaching skill and watch how much more
you instantly start to learn about your team. You’ll see a
player is upset over something even though he’s trying hard
to hide it. You’ll see how each player reacts to not only
you but to one another.
Master these six coaching strategies and watch your coaching
skills skyrocket. Your players must know you care way before
they’ll care about what you have to say. Remember this
because too many coaches don’t.
Matt & Dave run
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