As a coach your aim is to win matches, correct? You want your players to perform their best, don’t you? You need the team to play as if it was one entity, are we talking your language?
We know it’s not easy. No, not easy at all. It involves not only managing at least eleven completely different individuals, with their own personalities, backgrounds, strengths, and weaknesses, but synchronizing them into a team, and a good team! A team that can win, over and over again. And that’s complex. But not impossible. And there are some tricks to being a better coach, we’re here to share them with you. Sounds interesting? Keep reading.
1. Do: Give detailed feedback.
This is a useful tip to write down in bold capital letters in your coaching notebook. Players learn better with regular, specific, explanatory and timely reinforcement about performance. That means occasional and superficial criticisms or feedback – for example saying: “good work” or “You can do better” aren’t clear or explanatory, and do not actually increase motivation or athletes’ understanding. So, skip the abstract and general commentary and focus on detailed feedback – positive as well as negative! Also, don’t just describe what they did right or wrong, go further to provide the next steps and solutions.
For instance, don’t say: “That was a weak kick. Kick harder!”. Do say: “The way you passed the ball had great direction, but next time try to give it more strength to add more distance to it. Increase backswing of the kick.”
2. Do: Focus on communication, verbal and non-verbal.
Communication is fundamental for coaches, and inside the team. Keep in mind that you should aim to explain what you want from them in a clear and concise manner without over-complicating yourself. Use simple, direct and respectful language. And remember, communication means listening too, not just talking. Coach Pia Sundhage of the Brazilian Female team, encourages her players to talk about everything that has gone well, every time after training or a match.
But good communication goes beyond the words you use, it’s valuable to also remember the non-verbal side of it, such as body language. For instance, as a coach you can convey confidence through gestures by looking into your player’s eyes, showing the palms of the hands, moving slowly or maintaining an upright position are great actions to give more strength to what you say. Too much gesticulation and excessive movement have the opposite effect. Avoid gestures of discomfort like touching your face, scratching or playing with objects will detract a lot from the messages.
3. Do: Think beyond players’ physical performance.
You might be a bit confused about this point, but it’s as important to prepare the players psychologically and mentally for the match as it is to prepare them physically. You need routines to warm up, clear references throughout the game or visualizations to fill the time-outs.
Think about “mental workouts” for your players such as meditation. These could even be just a few minutes long. Many players from all different sports report they meditate, such as top basketballer Pau Gasol who has said to enjoy learning Zen philosophy & meditation. He explains it teaches him how to take everything in perspective, work on self-awareness, live in the present and have a calm mind, all extremely useful for an elite athlete.
Additionally, having a calm mind can reduce stress and anxiety as well as enabling a better emotional control. It can also be in the form of reading a book, going for a walk or listening to music. Overall, meditation helps to manage the external aspects of the competition as well as to improve performance. As a coach that sounds like a win, doesn’t it?
Are you serious about improving your coaching skills and knowledge? Would you like to make coaching your career? Check out our Barça Coach Academy, let’s make your dreams come true. Click here.
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