Good Communication Tips For Youth Coaches

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

How Parents Can Play A Major Role In The College Recruiting ProcessRecently 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

You could also create a vision or theme as a team. At a team meeting have your athletes brainstorm a list of statements. Here’s some ideas for such a meeting:

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).

The main take away point is to be consistent with a positive message like “You can figure anything out”. Repeat that message or theme to your athletes as often as possible.

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.

3 thoughts on “Good Communication Tips For Youth Coaches

  1. Jodi Murphy

    “Kids can learn the habit of focusing on the positive and you are just the person to show them how to do it.”

    Agreed! As the coach your team is going to look up to your and mirror your attitude. The more positive you can stay the more they will.


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