Coaching is fostering positive relationships in order to create, motivate, and influence athletes on and off field habits that lead to individual and group success.
Read What is Coaching? to learn why it was necessary to create this definition…
The above definition of coaching provides a starting point for coaches of all experience levels to have an increased understanding of why they are involved. Over time, coaches will have the opportunity to further develop their abilities through more real-life coaching experiences and knowledge enhancement such as attending coaching classes, watching videos, or reading books. Coaches who choose this developmental path will begin to have a greater understanding of the positive life-altering implications included within their role as coach and mentor. Within this life-altering idea is where coaches who make a difference for a season and those that shape the individual for a lifetime differentiate themselves. The individual coach will eventually select the amount of time they want to dedicate to their craft and personal growth which will assist in determining the influential effect they have with each participant.
The following paragraphs will detail the concepts of our coaching beliefs.
Fostering Positive Relationships: The cornerstone of the pivotal bond between coach and player. The coach that connects with their players and makes this a priority from the first day of training throughout the entire season will have a team that will look forward to group association while working harder in practice and games due to the coach-player interaction. Fostering positive relationships within a team looks like this:
- Engaging players on a daily basis to learn about their life.
- Limiting dissension by planning, organizing, and behaving in a way that minimizes negativity.
- Providing emotional leadership by guiding the player’s feelings throughout the season.
- Learning how to teach the team how to successfully work with teammates, deal with frustrations, enjoy training and matches, create positive team culture, and learn how to create success.
I believe that learning and team success only begin when fostering a positive relationship becomes a priority. In a large majority of occasions, these thoughts and ideas are even more important than X’s and O’s and team strategy.
Create, Motivate, and Influence Athletes: Each individual will be guided by the coach to become more athletic and skillful through developmentally appropriate activities. Each activity will be purposefully selected in order to provide enhanced mental and physical abilities that strengthen team bonds and passion for participation.
The coach will motivate the team through aspects of positivity which include the following ideas:
- Praise and Encouragement
- Fun and Humor at appropriate times
- Develop a relationship built upon mutual respect
- Support the athlete after errors and losses as well as after playing and winning
- Setting fair and consistent rules
- Provide incentives
- Develop personal progress charts
As the leader of the team, negative motivation which can decrease an athlete’s self-esteem and self-confidence will never be used. Negative motivation includes:
- Intimidation – Coach tells a player in front of the team – “If you don’t start performing, you will be sitting on the bench and won’t get any playing time”.
- Criticism with Sarcasm – An athlete makes a mistake during a game and the coach says, “Are you even trying out there? A 6-year-old could do better than you?
- Physical Abuse – A coach is unhappy with how his team is training so he says, “If you guys don’t want to train properly you can do 10 more laps around the field”.
- Guilt – A coach isn’t happy with his team’s performance. He believes that the team gave up when they fell behind in the game and says, “YOU should all be ashamed of yourselves, you not only let yourselves down but the whole school and community”.
Coaches provide influence to athletes throughout every interaction. The expectations for the athlete set in the mind of the coach of high achievement or low achievement will impact the athlete’s level of success and improvement. Influence each athlete in a positive manner by setting a realistic expectation, providing individual developmental goals, and reviewing those goals throughout the season to see if they are being accomplished. Through this process, the coach establishes an effective process for positivity in the life of the athlete.
On and Off-Field Habits: The imperative essence of coaching…Coaches have the ability to alter the beliefs and abilities of each team member by forming new and more effective habits. On field physical and mental habits that lead to greater individual or team success are formed during training. Coaches selecting the correct activity and teaching in an effective manner will reinforce the perceived acceptable habit that will encourage adopting the habit and making it an automatic response.
An example of this would be a coach teaching zonal defending with the backs in soccer. The coach would give the backs specific movements to make (pressure, cover, balance, and compression) in order to have the best ability to keep the attacking team away from scoring. The coach would also present definitive cues for the backs to look for in order to begin their automatic response. The coach would present this in an activity that features repetition and rehearsal to increase effectiveness and automaticity.
A small percentage of coaches are able to be so impactful in the life of the athlete that they also alter off-field habits. Connecting the competitive sports experience with lifelong success through ideas such as the Psychological Characteristics of Developing Excellence (PCDEs) will enhance the habits of the athlete for a lifetime. The PCDEs when effectively introduced and incorporated as the session objectives will increase the meaning of the experience while providing a positive effect for each participant. The coaches that connect with their players to create positive off-field habits are able to successfully plan a session that includes physical and mental development as well as provide a purposeful message to enhance off-field habits. Coaches who focus on lifetime success are able to influence and have a positive impact over the course of many years.
That Lead to Individual and Group Success: When a team defines success, they can create a pathway to reach their goals. Until success is defined, members of the group do not have a complete understanding of why they are being asked to sacrifice, provide effort, and work together for a common goal. Individual and group success has been defined by many, but my favorite will always be how John Wooden defined success to his UCLA teams.
Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable.
• John Wooden
Once success is defined, each participant of the group will have further clarification of how winning will happen and exactly what winning looks like. Defining success in the manner of John Wooden will also likely have a positive effect on off-field habits that could last a lifetime.
We define coaching in the following way:
Coaching is fostering positive relationships in order to create, motivate, and influence athletes on and off-field habits that lead to individual and group success.
Let this sink in, share it with other coaches, and live these ideals. The athletes you work with will be better off because of your ability and thoughtfulness as Coach.
Empowering athletes, families, coaches, and organizations to create opportunities for lifetime success,
CLICK HERE to learn our WHY…