Communicating Effectively as a Coach
The way that you communicate with your players directly affects them. They can have either a positive or negative reaction. The reaction depends upon what you say to them and how you say it.
Communication involves both spoken and body language. You will need to adjust both in order to sharpen your communication skills. Poor communication can result in poor team morale. This makes it difficult for you to direct the team. They will play poorly. They may even quit the sport.
Some coaches think they communicate well. The truth is most coaches have a hard time getting their message across. What they think they are saying to the player may be interpreted differently. A simple statement like “Try harder,” can be taken negatively. Even if you said it in a positive manner, the player may take it differently.
How can you avoid confusion? How can you reassure your players positively? What is the result of good communication skills? Let’s take one question at a time. We will examine the way that you should communicate in each situation. This will help reassure your players that you only want what’s best for them.
Relate To Your Players
If you have played the sport you are coaching you have an advantage. You can empathize with your players. You know how hard it is to be them. You can remember the stresses and pressures that you may have faced. You can recall the obstacles placed in your way. You know how to overcome them.
This quality is called empathy. Empathy means to imagine yourself in someone else’s shoes. This is how you can relate to your players.
Players look up to their coaches. Telling them how long you played the sport makes them feel comfortable. It instantly establishes a rapport. Players will respect you. They will look to you to lead them. They will be willing to listen to what you have to say. Relating to your players is one a coach’s best keys to communication.
Give Positive Feedback
Every player has a different type of personality. Each person will respond better to a certain type of communication. In general, players respond better to coaches that take the time to take an interest in them. They respond better to positive feedback. Give positive feedback even if you are correcting them.
If you have to correct a player, start out by complimenting them first. Tell them the area they need correction in. Then give them another compliment. For example, “I like your teamwork Casey. You’re doing a good job. I need for you to focus more on your speed. You’re a great player. I’m seeing a lot of improvement. This is something else I know you can improve if you simply practice and work harder.”
In this statement, you are encouraging your player to continue the job they are doing. You are also telling them they can be good at the area they need improvement in. You are showing faith in them. This helps to reassure them. The player will feel important. They will try harder.
You must be able to relate to your players. You have to understand them. You must also give them plenty of positive feedback, even during correction.
You must tailor your approach individually to every player. Take a little bit of time to learn about them. Find out what motivates them. Use this to give the player instructions, correction and positive feedback. Players are less likely to respond to a coach who is very critical. Practice communicating individually with your players on a regular basis.
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