When I was a young coach I had the good fortune to coach a junior team with three individuals who had distinct, and some would say difficult, personalities.
One was supremely competitive in the truest sense of the word. He had to win every drill, every scrimmage, every game whatever it was, and the challenge for him was to win in the easiest way possible. One was a born contrarian. He had to push the boundaries of every instruction, or rule to see what was possible. One was extremely picky. Every instruction that had even hint of contradiction or lacked clarity was reflexively challenged.
Coaching this team was a daily nightmare. I learnt many lessons from them.
- Be precise and clear in all instructions. Take time to think through how they will be interpreted by the team. Only some players will say it out loud, but they are all picky.
- The motivations of a player during a drill are not necessarily the same as the goals you have set for that drill. If those motivations and goals are not aligned, change the drill until they are.
- Don’t be afraid to change the drill, including the rules and the scoring system. If players find a way to ‘cheat’ the game, let them have the point, but close the loophole immediately.
By their words and actions they were giving me valuable feedback on my coaching and especially the conduct of practice. I could choose to be angry at their ‘lack of respect’, or I could choose to appreciate their intelligence and accept their feedback.
Players always give feedback to the coach. You just have to ‘listen’ for it.
The collection of Coaching Tips can be found here.
For more great coaching tips, check out the Vyacheslav Platonov coaching book here.