There is nothing quite as rewarding as leading a team to victory, whether at the amateur, college, or professional level. Becoming an effective coach takes hard work and dedication, and while outsiders may not be quick to give you the credit, the satisfaction earned from the respect and admiration of your players is unmatched. If you’re looking to take your coaching to the next level, consider these 6 traits of a highly effective coach:
While there may be times you feel like throwing a chair against the locker room wall Bobby Knight style, positivity is key to coaching success at any level. Make your criticism constructive, and add something positive in it to reinforce what your players have been doing well. Slipping the criticism in between positive reinforcements will make your players perform better, and will ensure that they don’t resent you as a coach.
Players look to their coach to set a confident tone when things go awry. The most effective coaches instill in their players a belief that winning is always possible, regardless of the scenario. If a player knows that his coach believes in him, even after a failure, then he will play with more confidence and lose his fear of failure.
Make sure that your players clearly understand what you expect from them as people and as athletes at the outset of the season. Hold a meeting at the beginning of the season to develop ground rules of acceptable behavior. Players will naturally test the limits of what is deemed acceptable, so if you don’t have rules established, it will be difficult to reign the team in.
Ensure that your team knows that mistakes are inevitable, and they are okay. The mistakes are acceptable, but what is not acceptable is allowing those mistakes to define your play. It is how your players respond to mistakes and adversity that matters most. A great coach must be able to focus on the task that lies ahead.
Recognize who on your team can handle a leadership role, and allow them to have more responsibility on the field. Whether that means calling plays or being the team spokesman when discussing something with the referee, leaders are necessary, so find out who are the leaders are on your team, and trust them to take control on the field.
Make sure your team is totally prepared come game time. You can make adjustments at halftime or between innings, but if you’re coaching too much during the game and getting worked up, it will inhibit your team’s ability to succeed.
Becoming a great coach doesn’t happen overnight, but if you remind yourself of these six principles, you will be well on your way to developing a powerhouse of a team. You might also consider looking into online coaching programs for more tips, especially if you want to coach a professional team or go into athletic administration.
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