Do Your Players Lis...
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Do Your Players Listen?

Joined: 11 years ago
Posts: 17715
Topic starter  

Through the years, a common complaint that I hear from coaches is in regards to their player's willingness to LISTEN.  The common complaint goes something like this: "I've got these kids and they just won't listen..." or a similar variation.  Usually when I hear this complaint, it's most often made by a coach that I wouldn't want to listen to, either.  The art of teaching, as well as communication seems to slide further down the slope as less emphasis is given in schools and by parents.  The "skill" and "art" of texting has taken us further down the de-evolutionary ladder.  So why don't players listen?  Because "Coach" isn't giving them something WORTH listening to.  Perhaps it's his subject matter.  Perhaps it's his delivery.  Maybe it's his (lack of) charisma, or he's lacking in leadership skill.  Maybe his organization and presentation of ideas is scattershot.  

Whether you're coaching on the field, the weight room or in the classroom, you have to understand what your audience will and will not find appealing and/or interesting.  And you're most likely to be tuned out if you fall into the hole of MOST coaches: By using gossip, judging, lying, negativity, complaining and dogmatism.  If you haven't seen these at either a coaches meeting, football practice or game, then you simply haven't been paying attention.  Misery loves company and negativity reverberates and echoes.

So what if you don't have Kipling's vocabulary, Brad Pitt's smile, or the Dos Equis' dude's experience?  Then interact with those you're coaching as if you're teaching a child to tie his shoes: with simple respect and patience.  Do you enjoy teaching him?  Then show it.  How is your body language?  Many coaches stand on the field with their arms folded.  That is standoffish.  Hands on hips?  Aggressive.  What is the timber, pitch, pace and volume of your voice?  Do you sound angry?  Desperate?  Or do you sound like you know exactly what you're doing?  If you don't sound confident then you probably aren't.  How to change that sound?  Gain confidence.  How?  By studying not just what you're teaching but by understanding what you want it to SOUND like.  How to gain that?  By doing it.  I coach while driving my car, working in the yard, or taking a shower.  "What's the best way to teach this drill?  To get this point across?"  By practicing it.  And by doing so, your credibility meter will improve by leaps and bounds.


"The Greater the Teacher, the More Powerful the Player."

The Mission Statement: "I want to show any young man that he is far tougher than he thinks, that he can accomplish more than what he dreamed and that his work ethic will take him wherever he wants to go."

#BattleReady newhope

jtrent64, terrypjohnson, mahonz and 1 people liked
Joined: 2 years ago
Posts: 257


Well said.  Wish I'd had this a while back for a guy who coached w/ us.  Coulda used it myself back in the '80's when I was 1st starting out. 

I  coach 8-9 yr olds (3rd - 4th grade) and much more than 3 sentences - by the time of day I get them - their attention spans won't handle it.   I've found less is more when it comes to talking.  And, the idea of "gotta Coach 'em up" dominates our practice thinking.   

More demonstration and less talking, and lots and lots of reps....  a smile, a quick corny joke, and lotsa 'atta-boys', fist bumps and laughing.  Seems to work best for us and our age group.

Good article, thanx 

Umm.... why does that 6 ft tall 9 yr old have a goatee...?

Joined: 8 years ago
Posts: 407

I find myself acting like I am coaching all the time. When I snap out of it I pray no one was watching me talk to myself while driving or walking my dog.

mahonz liked
Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 9457

My coaching these days has been minimal all of DPs points are valid.  Communication, expectation, and accountability goes far beyond anything else that can be deemed a successful approach. My first high school gig was with a legend coaching staff. State championship a D3 semi finalist and a former pro player. These guys were the coolest and calmest coaches ever, when they got emotional or angry it was felt for miles. There was an caring and a understanding amongst the whole program. Coach talk you listened. Other programs it wasn't this way bc the repour want there, the base wasn't built 

I can explain it to you, I can't understand if for you.