Coaching is a rewarding but challenging profession. How can you improve as a coach and get your team striving to be the very best?
Verbal Communication Skills
Coaches need to be disciplined and have great skills of communication in order to be successful.
Be consistent about how and what you are telling your team. Avoid contradicting earlier advice as you risk confusing your players and eroding their trust in you as their mentor.
Remain positive, but do be honest. Players are well aware when they make mistakes, so talk about how lessons can be learned and used to positively turn things around. The language you use can really have an effect upon how players respond to team talks, so take care not to demoralise them.
Be very clear about what you wish to achieve and how. Deliver instructions quickly and concisely, without side tracking. Get quickly to the point or you risk losing the team’s attention. Then get them moving and acting on your instructions before they forget what has been said. Take a look at these rugby drills from http://www.sportplan.net/, which offer clear instructions.
Non Verbal Communication Skills
It sounds obvious, but your body language says it all. A happy, confident coach will enthuse and motivate the team, while a moody, hunched one will have the players questioning their performance and your commitment to helping them improve. There are many ways to encourage players to remain positive or keep up the good work, whether they are having a bad day or in the midst of a fantastic run – a simple handshake, pat on the shoulder or high five, for example.
Don’t be afraid to let what you feel show on your face. Be genuine, but remember, as with body language, wearing a scowl or perpetually grumpy look on your face is bad for morale. A smile of encouragement when things get tough or simple nod of approval will let players know that you are behind them all the way.
If you don’t listen to your team, how can you expect them to listen to you? Players must always know they can come to you with questions or when they have a problem. And that you will do your best to help them.