Head coaches know there are multiple aspects to coaching their team. Throughout the year coaches are dealing with players, developing offensive and defensive systems, planning practice schedules, and managing fundraising. All of these are important, however the most important thing a coach can do is create an atmosphere of success. This week we’ll discuss five ways to create this atmosphere. The best part is that all of these methods are transferable to leaders within the business world.
To some creating an atmosphere of success will seem like a daunting task at times, but it’s not. The great thing is that there are so many coaching resources available to go along with a global coaching community willing to help. One thing I’ve learned over the years is that all you have to do is ask for help. Coaches love sharing what they’ve learned and what works. Just ask.
The first step to creating an atmosphere of success is to emphasize teamwork and harmony. Coaches should spotlight the value of all the contributions made from all team members. There should never be mention of, or talk about individual statistics. It’s fine to celebrate them when they occur, but the focus should always be on the team goals. What you praise gets repeated. If the coach preaches and celebrates team play, it will come to fruition.
The second step to instill discipline and respect. This is by no means an easy task but it’s one that can be accomplished with a deliberate approach. Coaches need to set the example and that includes being on time. If you want your players to show up early and on time, then as a coach make sure you’re on time for practice, games, and other team functions. The head coach should have a say in all discipline matters throughout the program to ensure consistency. Coaches should also model the behavior they want their players to display towards other coaches, officials, teachers, and players. Having respect for these individuals along with your opponents is paramount to establishing discipline and respect within a program.
The third step is teach a positive mindset. Teaching athletes how to “play present” (move on to the next play) is essential. By getting them to let go of the negative they are then able to re-focus on what’s to come. The best players and teams are able to do this on a consistent basis. Coaches should also make an effort to establish a rapport with all players off the court. This can simply be done by recognizing players in the hallway and asking them how they’re doing. Another great tip is to have a word for the day that is shared with the team before practice and a quote for the day at the end. Coaches must make it a priority to end every day on a positive note. Never end practice on a negative one.
The fourth step is creating confidence. This can be the most challenging aspect to creating an atmosphere of success. Most coaches assume today’s teens are cocky, but quite the opposite is true, 90% of players need to be built up. Coaches should see themselves as encouragers and esteem builders. In order to build confidence coaches should not continually harp on a players’ weaknesses. The team must think they are the most prepared team and that they can compete against the best. Another tip is to create a routine on game days. Meet after school, have team meals, watch video clips together, and most importantly monitor who is around your team before games. Do not allow someone be around your team if they’re not a valued member and the team is not important to them. Allow only those invested in the team and the culture of success around the players.
Lastly, build an atmosphere of trust. Players will not care about how much you know or the program until they know how much you care. Coaches must show players they care more about them as individuals than as players. How is this done? One way to demonstrate this is to ask how they are doing? Don’t simply ask, “How are you doing?” Be specific, use their name. Ask, “How’s Meredith today?” Coaches should know what’s going on in the players’ personal lives, how their families are doing, and what interests they have outside of the sport. When off the court, coaches should make it a priority to have conversations that have nothing to do with the game. Talk about anything other than the sport. This is how players come to know their coaches genuinely care about them and their well-being.
What did I leave out? What are some methods you recommend for creating an atmosphere of success? We’d love to hear your thoughts!
As always, thanks for reading, have a great day, and be an RGP today!
Coach Elmendorf is available to speak to your team, group, or organization. Message him for details.