Coaching is not a simple job. It can be complicated, stressful and thankless. With so many ingredients that go into being a good coach, it can be hard to keep track sometimes of what is best. So, to narrow it down, we’ve looked, specifically, at what makes a good coach from an athlete’s point of view. Here are some of the things that athletes look for in a good coach.
Enjoys What They Do
When someone is passionate about what they’re doing it shows. Yes, it does, about as much as it shows if someone hates their job and has to drag themselves to work every day. So, a coach who is passionate about what they’re doing is an infectious thing, and it will motivate and inspire the team in their charge. Always remember, your attitude sets the example for the team, and it can be hugely beneficial or downright ruinous.
Embraces an Open-Door Policy
A good coach should have an open-door policy. They should be approachable and take the time to listen to the people on their team as well as help them out if needed.
Builds Individual Relationships
A team is not a single entity, but rather it’s made up of individuals. Therefore, a good coach has to know how to reach each of their players on an individual level. Such is not accomplished effectively without having built some form of relationship with each individual player. Athletes want someone who knows them, can encourage their strengths and targets their weaknesses to help them improve. Remember, coaching is a form of mentoring, and it comes with the weighty responsibility of helping those in your charge reach their fullest potential. For instance, the NFL coaches who lead their teams to winning odds in the next Super Bowl will get there by challenging their players, getting to know their strengths and weaknesses as well as giving them the encouragement and discipline required to maximize their individual talents.
Knows How to Motivate
A lot of this goes back to building an individual relationship with the players on your team. The coach-athlete relationship is the most important and fundamental aspect of the job. People will always have different needs when it comes to getting motivated, and a strong coach knows how to motivate their team as a unit as well as on an individual level. Keeping your team motivated means encouraging good play, which doesn’t mean humiliating an athlete when they’ve done something wrong. So, watch out for that.
Remains Calm Under Pressure
Athletes need to be able to look to their coach before a big game and find some measure of calm and confidence there. To an athlete, if the coach displays a calm demeanor before a high-pressure game, it nonverbally communicates trust in the team and in the ability of the athletes on that team.
There’s so much more that goes into effective coaching that we would be here for days trying to get through it all. But these are some bullet-point guidelines that show what the people on your team want from a coach and what they think makes a good one. Follow these, and you’ll be well-liked, appreciated and hopefully, a little bit more effective as a coach and a leader.