How to become a 1 in a million coach
If you want to have a 1 in a million team then you need to be carrying out the actions of a 1 in a million coach. Here are 6 simple suggestions that can make a huge impact on your team’s culture and future.
Taking a genuine interest in each of your athletes by asking what their hobbies are, what they like/dislike, how their family is doing, how school is going and any other daily small gestures or comments related to things outside of sport. Coaches often make the mistake of only communicating to their athletes about sports specific topics which leads to the athlete thinking it is all about what he or she can do for the coach. Scheduling individual meetings with each of your athletes before, during and post season to address these conversations. If you have a large number of athletes on your team assign your assistant coaches to each meet with a small group of athletes. “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,”
Each individual athlete responds differently to certain coaching tendencies which is why it is very important for you to figure out what makes them bring out their very best in different circumstances. Some athletes may need a big pep talk prior to the competition while others may become more nervous with the same exact pep talk. Just as important as figuring what helps them mentally is is just as important to figure out what inadvertently hurts them mentally. Most commonly when coaches are constantly talking about their opponents records, rankings and other statistics it can result in the athletes losing their self belief.
Knowing each athlete’s sensitivity level prior to providing critique or constructive criticism can be very crucial to developing the athlete’s trust. Most athletes tend to fit into one of the following three categories on how they best respond to critique: “Tell it like it is”, “Be more positive”, or using a sandwich technique of positive encouragement, constructive criticism comment, followed by another positive statement. Rather than telling an athlete what they did wrong try asking them first if they know what they could have done better in that particular situation. This approach leads to a much more positive learning experience for the athlete.
“Coach them hard and love them even harder,”
Being able to keep all of the coaches within your entire program on the same page all working towards the same common goal is essential for creating positive energy and momentum within your program. Scheduling monthly meetings with your entire coaching staff allows each coach to provide feedback and feel like their voice is being heard and they are truly appreciated.
Go the extra mile
Developing strong lines of open communication with each athlete’s parents and teachers will help you learn more about the athlete. Attending their other sporting events or activities can really show the athlete and their parents how much you truly care about them. Collecting the birthdays of each of your athletes and sending them a quick Happy Birthday message can be very simple but very effective.
Connecting with your alumni athletes can provide so many benefits to your overall team culture. Creating an email or social media group specifically for the alumni to keep them informed on what is going on within your program makes them still feel connected which will result in them attending more of your events and giving back to the program. Asking your alumni to come in and speak to the team during the season will help the current athletes develop hope and inspiration. Designating one of your home events as “Alumni Night” where you recognize your alumni can be another way of keeping them engaged into the program.