Communication between Coach and Players

26.09.2009 15:49

Communication between Coach and Players

 

A factor in any program's success or failure is the ability of the coach and his/her team to communicate with each other. Successful coaches know how to communicate effectively. Coaches should keep in mind the following three suggestions when talking with their players:
  1. Communication involves sending messages and receiving messages. Many coaches are good at providing information, but poor at listening to what players have to say. Coaches should LISTEN to their players.
  2. Speaking, or verbal messages, is only one form of communication. Many times non-verbal messages, such as facial expressions of joy, sadness or anger and behaviors of kindness are stronger than anything a coach can say. When talking with players, remember that HOW you express yourself is often as important as WHAT you do. How a coach talks with his players is heard before what you say.
  3. Successful coaches, faced with the pressures and excitement of competitive sports, think carefully about what they say and the emotions they communicate. Inappropriate comments or gestures can only harm the player-coach relationships.
A coach can improve his communication skills by adopting a positive approach. The positive approach emphasizes praise and rewards to strengthen desirable behavior. This approach not only helps athletes to value themselves, but also enhances a coach's credibility. In contrast, the negative approach uses punishment and criticism to eliminate undesirable behavior. The negative approach increases fear of failure, lowers the player's self-esteem and lessens the coach's credibility.

The positive approach can be put into practice by a coach following these suggestions:

  1. When an athlete performs a skill, even if he/shecommits several errors, look for something specific in the performance worthy of praise "Look for something right!" Scolding and berating players reduces the player's feelings of self-worth.
  2. Reward the players' performance and efforts regardless of the game results. Many factors that determine the outcome can not be controlled by the coach or players. These include the performance of the other team, the calls by the officials, the quality of the facilities, and "luck."
  3. Reward frequently when players are first learning askill. Reward occasionally once the skill is well learned.
  4. Reward small improvement. Some players may never become great players.
  5. Look for opportunities to praise players for showing desirable social and emotional skills. Good sportsmanship, teamwork, and cooperativeness deserve to be noticed.
  6. Choose carefully how to reward the players. Use trophies, patches, ribbons, and specific certificates as end-of-season rewards. However, small rewards based upon meeting game performance skills should be used. Athletes should learn that playing sports brings its own rewards: a sense of accomplishment, pride and a feeling of competence.
Every young person is a potential winner, even though they may disguise themselves as a "loser." Don't let their appearance fool you. Coaches should help the young athletes reach their full potential by "catching them doing something right." Do this enough times and these young athletes will feel good about themselves and produce good game results.

Misbehavior

A coach can use the positive when dealing with a player's misbehavior. One technique is to ignore the behavior, neither reward nor punish it. This approach is usually effective when an athlete is misbehaving to seek attention. Ignoring the behavior teaches the player that unacceptable behavior does not gain recognition.

Sometimes, though, a coach cannot wait for the misbehavior to extinguish itself through non-reward. If a player is spoiling practice or endangering herself or others, a coach must take immediate and prudent action. Take the player aside, tell her that the misbehavior must stop and what form of punishment to expect if she chooses to continue with the inappropriate behavior. One warning is sufficient. If the misconduct persists, administer the punishment. Always use punishment sparingly, it is the behavior, not the person, that is being punished. A good method is to simply remove the player from the activity. Never use physical punishment. For most young athletes, sitting out or a demotion in playing status or time is sufficient punishment to eliminate continued misbehavior. When the punished player returns, try hard to make her once again feel like a valued member of the team.

Goal Setting

The positive approach in player-coach communications can also be used for setting individual or team goals. Goal setting should be done by all teams. Coaches and athletes need to take the time to think about what they want to be, what they want to do, what they want to have, and where they want to go in order to create goals. Thus, goals are important because they focus an individual's and a team's energy towards desired outcomes.

Coaches and athletes, by their very nature, are goal oriented, Unfortunately, they will pursue negative goals as well as positive goals. Setting positive, practical, realistic, and attainable objectives and developing a plan of action to attain those goals can lead to individual satisfaction and team success. Continued success will enable coaches and players to think of themselves as worthy and deserving of victory. This process develops the "winning attitude" that all coaches desire in their teams.

Below is a plan that will enable a coach to guide his/her athletes in developing goals and creating a strategy for achieving each goal:

    Determine what your goals are.
    • school
    • team
    • individual
  1. Write your goals down, positively and specifically. It is important that goals be communicated to the sub-conscious mind positively and specifically. The sub-conscious mind "directs" one's goal achieving efforts and must have clear goals to be effective and efficient. Mental repetition of the positive, specific goal (mental imagery) implants the desired outcome firmly in the sub-conscious mind enabling an individual to draw upon the mind's great power.
  2. Balance the goals. Balance among an individual's school, team, and personal goals assures that all aspects of life that are important and enjoyable will receive attention.
  3. Place the goals in order of priority. Some goals are more important than others. An individual should concentrate her attention and energies on achieving these goals. This is known as "singleness of purpose."
  4. Develop an action plan for each goal. Establishing goals does not alone guarantee success. A plan of action is needed to guide an individual's or team's effort. A plan of action should include:
    • Tasks to be performed.
    • The person responsible for each task. The person whose goal it is, and who is ultimately responsible. Frequently the assistance of another person is required in achieving a sub-task.
    • Identify potential obstacles. Special preparation, avoidance, and circumvention of obstacles aids success.
    • Setting target dates. A specific date for the completion of tasks and sub-tasks is a strong motivational tool.
    • Visualize the goals mentally and physically. Accomplish the goals mentally. Try to see oneself accomplishing the goal. "Feel" the success of completing the goal. Visualization is a strong stimulus to action.
    • Review the goals each morning. Set the day'spriorities.
    • Reward for successfully accomplishing a goal. It isimportant to reinforce accomplishments along the way towards attaining a goal. Reward achievements with something that recognizes the accomplishments and stimulates further efforts.
REMEMBER:
  • Think it!
  • Believe it!!
  • Visualize it!!!
  • Become it!!!!
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