Updated: Sep 22, 2020
"A coach is someone who tells you what you don't want to hear, who has you see what you don't want to see, so you can be who you always know you could be."
- Tom Landry
To get to this standard of coaching, it takes honesty and trust between coach and athlete.
Tips to build relationships and have the hard conversations that help athletes improve and excel:
1. Get to know your athletes as individuals. Learn personal things about them outside of sport. This can include one on one meetings and dedicating 5 min to talk with an athlete at practice.
2. Create a shared vision with your team. It can’t be one sided. Meaning, it can't be driven by the coach or driven by the athlete.
3. Be honest from day one. As coaches, don’t tell your athletes what they want to hear. Be honest and open. Those hard discussions will build trust and integrity.
4. Unconditional support. It’s all about how you support and encourage your athletes through the best and worst of times. As an athlete, I had a lot of coaches who only pointed out things I needed to improve. It was great having that feedback, but I was always left wondering what I was doing well.
5. Individual goals for each athlete. Each athlete has their own expectations and motivations. Learn what they are and use it as your roadmap for providing unconditional support.
6. For college, high school, and youth athletes, talk to the parents to gain insight on the athlete as well.