Over the years I have learned a lot of things about coaching, many from studying and researching but most from doing and reflecting. A lot of the reflecting was on the many (many, many) mistakes I made, and continue to make (hopefully a bit less often than before). Many of those lessons are recorded as tips here and here, but for this post I wanted to focus on the specific kinds mistakes young coaches make. I was going to frame it as a 5 Don’ts of Coaching, but we all know we should never use that word in our work. If you didn’t know that consider it Tip 0.
1. Players aren’t for fixing. It is common for coaches to talk about ‘fixing’ players. Players are not broken. Always work towards improvement and for development, ‘fix’ no one.
2. Learning takes time. Every player learns at a different rate and in a different way. Push, prod, cajole by all means but understand it always takes longer than you want. Patience is a virtue.
3. One thing at a time. There will be a long list of things for any team or player to improve. By all means keep that list but work through it slowly and understand that you might never get to the bottom.
4. Avoid shouting. It doesn’t motivate. It doesn’t inspire. It hinders learning.
5. You don’t know everything. Players are smart. The instant you contradict yourself or pretend to know something you don’t, the players will know.
6. Be yourself. Always.