Ignore your athlete, give them negative facial expressions, respond with one word answers and don’t look them eye-to-eye — these are all examples of terrible communication. We are here to tell you to do the exact opposite. This may seem like common sense, but you may be surprised at how many coaches lack basic communication skills. Here at CoachNow, one of the most important tools we believe in as coaches is the ability to communicate. We have broken down some of the best, most successful and most effective communication tools for coaching.
But first, why is communication important?
Successful and effective communication is crucial with a coach-athlete relationship. As coaches, we all know that. Effective communication helps your athletes grow, learn better and overall helps them perform better.
Helpful Communication Tools
Listen, listen, listen
Coaches often mistake effective communication strictly as instruction, but it goes so much deeper than that. Verbal communication is only a small part of the communication process. Listening is just as important as verbal communication. Your knowledge as a coach is going to be greater than the athlete’s, but you need to listen to them. The athlete will know what is working for them and what isn’t. If they reach out about a certain drill or method saying it doesn’t work for them, listen to their needs. Find drills that work for them and make them better.
Every athlete is different, so what may work for you, might not work for your athlete. Listen to what they have to say and effectively communicate back to them. Whether that’s a verbal conversation or a change in drills. If you do not listen to your athlete’s needs, their growth may become limited.
Verbal communication is presumably the most obvious form of communication. However, it may not be obvious is how to use it effectively. Coaches words should have a long-lasting effect on athletes. You should always be positive and honest, make your words clear and simple and be consistent. Consistency is key with communication. You don’t want to show up to a session one day with very clear, concise verbiage and the next day show up being short and quick to the point. One last important tool for verbal communication is to be confident. Be confident in what you are teaching, confident in what you are saying and confident in your ability.
How you act is just as important as what you say, meaning that nonverbal communication is just as important as verbal. This includes facial expressions and body language. You should always make sure your words match your body language. For example — don’t tell an athlete they are doing well while making an angry or disappointed facial expression. Also, telling an athlete “nice try” while looking at them with disapproval is poor communication. At the same time, showing no facial expression is not effective because it doesn’t send a clear message to the athlete.
It’s 2019 and digital communication is just as important as face-to-face. Using a platform such as CoachNow helps keep that communication going. CoachNow allows coaches and athletes to stay in touch and focus on building their relationship outside of face-to-face interaction.