One of the most important responsibilities for any sports coach is to discover what makes their team tick, however this is certainly more easily said than done. So, just how can coaches inspire their team on a consistent basis?
The fact that sports teams are generally made up of a group of individuals, all with different personalities and traits, makes keeping everyone motivated at all times a difficult task. Whilst winning will often ensure that motivation stays high, coaches must also help players when it comes to dealing with expectations, especially when results are not going to plan. The following factors should be taken into consideration when looking to ensure that players remain confident in their ability, as well as inspired to do their very best when on the pitch.
Create an Inspiring Environment
No matter what level of sport is it that you are coaching at, it is important to ensure that your team puts in the work required on the training pitch. However, it is just as important to make sure that players are consistently giving their all, which can be helped by creating the right environment for them to thrive in. Creating such an environment is not something that will happen overnight, however constant communication, enthusiasm and motivation will help players to follow in your footsteps, as well as ensuring that they grow closer as a unit.
Whilst teamwork is often regarded as one of the most important factors in sport, this should not come at the expense of individual performances. This is due to the fact that teams are made up of a number of individuals, whose personal actions can ultimately make the difference between winning and losing, as well as having fun or not. Coaches should therefore make sure that players realise their responsibilities each and every time they step out onto the field, both as an individual and a teammate.
Little Big Things
Long-term goals, whether it be gaining promotion or avoiding relegation, can often put too much pressure on players, especially when children are involved, meaning that coaches should instead focus upon smaller objectives, such as improving possession or the number of crosses attempted during a match. Doing so will help to ensure that your team maintains focus throughout the campaign, as well as concentrating on the bigger picture.
Treat Players as Individuals
Each player in your team will have different strengths and weaknesses, both on and off the field, meaning that they also respond to criticism and encouragement differently. As a result, coaches must nurture individuals according to their personality, with some likely to respond well to “tough love”, while others will prefer an informal one-on-one chat. Such adjustments between players will help them to stake motivated, however this does require coaches to take the time to get to know everyone in their team.
Make Training Sessions Count
For any team, practice is essential for development and improvement. Training sessions provide a structured setting where coaches can help players to improve, whether it be technically, physically or mentally. As a result, players should walk away from each session as better players than they were before, with those who put the effort in set to reap the rewards during competitive action.
A recent study found that the social interactions in which people who participate in team sports get are far more beneficial than exercising alone, potentially even adding years to your life.