Monday, August 5, 2019

Superior Coaching Traits

In their quest for improvement many coaches often become too “x” and “o” oriented—they go to clinics, debate new strategies, devour literature, etc. In their obsession with the technical side of their game, they sometimes overlook the other vital aspects of coaching: philosophy, organization, methodology and team building. The point to remember is that whereas the technical side of coaching varies  greatly from sport to sport and even within a given sport, the methodology of exceptional coaches exhibits great uniformity.

The following traits distinguish the superior coaches:

  • Superior coaches are drill oriented. They believe that nothing is more important in the preparation of an individual or a team than the extensive use of efficient drills. What is an efficient drill? It is one that accurately reproduces the specific competitive situation and teaches the individual the proper reaction pattern and technique with which to respond to a recognized stimulus.
  • Superior coaches are goal-oriented. Each action has a specific goal to give it focus and structure. No part of an action, no segment of practice time ever goes to waste because of a lack of purpose. How can a coach work toward such a goal? Obviously, the answer lies within the coach himself. If he sees the athlete as a complete person, the athlete will recognize it and respond accordingly.
  • Superior coaches are adaptable. Subject your program to analysis during the off-season. The first point to remember is not to confuse faith in your program with a stubborn unwillingness to change. The off-season is the best time for the extensive research and analysis that will eliminate your program’s weaknesses and indicate improvements.
  • Superior coaches are communicators. Sell your program to your team members as a complete package. Don’t claim infallibility. Simply let them know that you’ve worked out a system that will make the most effective use of their time and that will offer the best possible chance of success. Everyone feels more comfortable and performs better when he believes his coaches have a reason for each move and decision.
  • Superior coaches are confident. “Keep the faith” in times of difficulty. Every team goes through a period of unusual difficulty. The coach’s performance under stress will be very meaningful. If he loses faith in the program the whole season can go down the drain.

—Adapted from How To Be a Better Coach


A Season In Words by Dan Spainhour

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