For any athlete to become a champion, which to means going as far as possible in their sport, it takes a total team effort behind them. Without the appropriate support and guidance of coaches and parents, real success in sports is virtually impossible! The key here is that each member of the ATHLETE-PARENT-COACH team “play” the right role, and play it to the very best of their abilities!
Unfortunately, well-meaning team members frequently get caught up in wanting to do more to “help” and so inadvertently step outside of their proper role. When this happens, their “help” backfires, sabotaging the process and inadvertently generating performance problems for the athlete.
Last week we discussed the athlete’s role. Today, let’s discuss the role of the COACH.
Walk the talk – Effective coaches model the behaviors they want to see in their athletes. Be motivated, focused and hard working and your players will follow!
Be positive – Catch your athletes doing thing right! Use positive feedback when it’s deserved! Don’t skimp here. This is how you build healthy self-esteem and confidence!
Communicate clearly – With both your athletes and their parents. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Be direct. Be open and honest! When your athletes mess up, help them understand what they did wrong and specifically what they need to do to correct the problem.
Stay in control emotionally – You don’t need to yell to be a great coach. Stay even and in control of your emotions and you will get far more out of your athletes.
Demand excellence from your players – Your job is to “sell” hard work and the pursuit of excellence. Do not settle for mediocrity and instead, teach your players to “get comfortable, being uncomfortable!, to get used to regularly stepping outside of their comfort zones.”
Do NOT play head games – Be honest and open with your players. Say what you mean and mean what you say!
Be fair – Great coaches don’t play favorites! They treat everyone fairly and have one set of rules for the entire team, not a second set of abridged rules with more privileges for the favored players!
Be respectful – If you want your athletes to be successful, then you must treat them with respect and dignity. You do not demean! You do not embarrass or humiliate.
Be trustworthy – Your players need to count on and depend upon you. They need to be able to trust that what you say, you back up with your actions! Be a man/woman of your word.
Create a safe learning environment – Make it safe for your athletes to learn and take risks. Make it safe for them to excel. Set and enforce clear limits on the team so that scape-goating and negativity are NOT allowed!
Teach your players the importance of making mistakes and failing – Great coaches create an environment where athletes feel free to make mistakes and fail because they know that this is the ONLY way to learn and get better. When your players fail, help them get curious as to what they did wrong and what they need to do differently next time rather than furious with themselves!
Have fun/passion – Excellence comes from enjoying what you’re doing. Coach with passion and enthusiasm. Love what you’re doing and help your players do the same.
When each member of the “team” plays their appropriate role, the athlete’s chances of turning their dream into a reality go way up.
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