Coaches have tremendous influence over their athletes’ behaviors and beliefs on and off the field. Today I would like to share with you some good communication tips to improve your communication with your team.
To Create Good Communication Focus On The Positive And Repeat It Often
Recently I thought back to my own experiences as a young athlete. What really stood out for me was not my coach, but my mom constantly telling me, “You can do anything you want if you put your mind to it. I believe in you.” I can still hear her voice in my head.
Was my mom a perfect parent? Absolutely not, but she put a lot of energy into teaching me that one big lesson. I encourage you to have themes or statements to motivate your athletes that you repeat over and over to your athletes that are empowering and they will remember the rest of their lives.
Here’s a few examples, “The winners in life think constantly in terms of I can, I will, and I am.” ~ Dennis Waitley
“Success isn’t something that just happens – success is learned, success is practiced and then it is shared.“ ~ Sparky Anderson
a. Get specific as to what each athlete would like to hear when they struggle to be engaged in practice or, when they lose or make a big mistake.
b. Point out the similarities and differences so everyone understands that every athlete is unique and gets motivated in different ways.
c. Give copies to the team and parents so everyone can use and support these statements often.
d. Set up an overall theme to always end practices and competitions by sharing what they learned or liked about their performance (e.g., “I liked how I got off at the start of the race”), NOT what they wished or desired they do better (e.g., “I dropped back too early).
Studies show coaches using “positive coaching” techniques like this are better liked by their athletes and these athletes exhibit higher levels of motivation, more satisfaction with their teammates and season.
You are going to make mistakes as a coach. Accept that and get on with the job of preparing your athletes for the game of life by always bringing your guidance back to the powerful, positive messages that you stand for.
When your athletes reflect that statement or value back to you in their own words or actions make it a point to NOTICE it. Tell them how proud you are and how great that makes you feel to witness them living that value.
Kids can learn the habit of focusing on the positive and you are just the person to show them how to do it.