Coaches who focus on positive, personal relationships with their athletes ensure success beyond their record on the field because no one knows the athlete better than a coach. Coaches know where their athletes struggle and what their strengths are. The success of a team depends on how well a team works together. If sports is a machine and players are the movable parts of the device, the coach is their glue. Therefore, athletes look to their coaches for inspiration, motivation, and encouragement.
A good coach knows how to work with athletes no matter how difficult their personalities. They understand that it’s their job to make the athlete understand the privilege and opportunity they have.
However, if a team has a lousy coach, the chances are that they would be a severe cause of discouragement for the team. So, how do coaches do it? How do they know how to motivate their players to put their best foot forward? Here’s how:
1. Recognize the Need for Motivation
Athletes are not always in high spirits. That is why their external environment is essential to keep their morale high. The job of a coach isn’t only to train their athletes but also to keep their spirits high. Remind them how well they can perform on the field, and the feeling of victory is incomparable. It would help if you also told them the better they perform, the higher their chances of a promising career. The more optimistic outlook you provide to your athletes, the better they perform. Coaches may also exert significant efforts in learning new methods and strategies. However, some coaches may decide to study exercise and sports science, kinesiology, physiology, nutrition and fitness, sports medicine, or physical education. The best way to know how to manage your players is doing an athletic administration masters that will equip you better on how to harness their skills and emerge victoriously.
2. Increase Communication
As a coach, you should talk to athletes as much as you can. One should get to know where they’re struggling, as it might be hindering their growth as an athlete. Maybe your athlete needs more one-on-one time, and so you should sit and talk to them. Provide them guidelines on how they can perform better. It will also help if you take a video of your athletes while they’re on the field and playback it in slow motion to help them see where their performance lacks and where they are doing well. You can also discuss formations with them and find out what technique is the best for them.
3. Be a Role Model
If you have stories to share with your athletes, you should. Athletes need to know that you’ve experienced the same problems they face, and you’ve gone through the same moments of demotivation as them. Always be there when your athletes need you and set an example by showing up on time. You should go to associated events and represent yourself as a coach. Athletes hire coaches to make them better at sports, making sense that you should be involved and dedicated to their improvement.
4. Bring Out Motivation
Use your athlete’s inspiration as a source of motivation. You want to ignite a strong feeling of optimism and dedication to your craft. If your athletes enjoy training on the field by playing with one another, maybe you should keep training them longer. As much as their physical fitness is essential and following a proper protocol, let your athletes pitch how they want to run their training.
5. Show Them Videos
You need to help your players mentally prepare for what they will have to face on the field. The best way to do this is by showing videos of other athletes. You can pick a video from the archives and play it for your athletes. Let them study the technique, the rigor, and the enthusiasm plays a show on the field. It can be a source of great inspiration for them. If possible, try asking experienced and seasoned players to pay a visit to your athletes. Get a conversation going and encourage athletes to ask questions.
6. Have Goals
There is a close relation between training and goal settings. However, athletes need to know their long-term and short-term goals and how their training can help them achieve their goals. It will help if you put a reminder during their weekly training. Maybe you want the team to play at a national level and qualify for all local matches. Perhaps a long-term goal is you want them to play international leagues. As you enhance their training, put up goals on top of each training regime. Ultimately, you want athletes to get used to the big picture and hustle towards it.
7. Establish Positive Reinforcement
As a coach, you need to balance all positive and negative feedback. It is because you want to encourage them but not let them get in over their heads. At the same time, you don’t want to demolish their spirits. A balance keeps them focused and determined to do well. If your athlete gets a PR, scores, does well on the field, let them know? Your criticism should also make sense, don’t yell at them for the sake of yelling at them. If you want them to improve, give them constructive criticism.
8. Create a Support System
You cannot be the only source of support for your athletes. When they’re in a team, they need to feel support radiating from all their team members. It means you should encourage athletes to be supportive of each other. Be a pillar of strength to each other. It would help when you’re recruiting team members. They should have the same mindset and goals for each other. When like minds are together, it is easier for them to support and take care of each other. Support systems are also crucial as they can celebrate victories and push through failures. As a coach, you are essential to let your athletes feel that.
As a coach, you need to do more than training your athletes. You are responsible for instilling sportsmen spirit, determination, and encouragement when they are out on the field. There should be no barriers between you and your athletes, so you should try and talk to them as much as possible. Show them videos of experienced players and motivate them through pep talks. If they do well, let them know, and if they mess up, still let them know. Build a team that is more like a family than co-workers playing together. Finally, always be a role model to them.