ancaster_youth_soccer_club_headerI was listening to a podcast today from Dan Abraham, who is an EPL (English premiere league) mental skills expert, entitled “inside the mind of a champion”. Currently Dan is working in many different sporting contexts including Derby County FC, with professional football players and pro golfers. He spoke about many aspects of coaching teams and parenting athletes that I believe are really helpful in our journey as coaches, players and parents.

The 4 C’s of coaching: 

Curiosity: Stay curious a coach. Keep learning, keep growing and keep developing. Be curious about your players, be interested in who they are and not just what they do on the field. Listen to their stories, their journeys and their fears. Be intentionally curious. As soon as a coach becomes focused on their own agenda instead of being their for the betterment of the team or players, they have lost the key objective as a coach. Be a question asker, not a statement maker. Parents need to learn this. Don’t make statements about your kids performance, ask them about it. “Be curious, not judgmental”. (Walter Whitman)

Confidence: Be confident in your decisions, your learning and your development. Decide what you stand for, and be confident in standing your ground, holding true to your values. Being strong and confident as a coach helps develop confidence in the players we are leading. It’s not about perfection, but progress. Development requires confidence. Not aggression or cockiness, but confidence. Confidence can be demanding, but never demeaning. When a player knows your care about them, and are curious about who they are becoming, being confident is embraced.

Communication: Become a great communicator. Communicating your curiosity confidently. Remember that one of the biggest components of communicating is listening. “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” (Stephen Covey). Learn to listen with the intent to understand, and invite your players into the conversation. Communicating passion, fun, values, expectations and goals is a critical part of leading and coaching a team at any level.

Connection: In essence, the above 3 points are about this one, developing a strong, healthy and respectful connection with your players. If your create this kind of connection, you develop rapport and respect. You promote loyalty, collaborating and alignment.

If you’re interested in hearing the full podcast check out the “way of champions” podcast by John O’Sullivan.

Have a great week. Bretta – Player / coach Development – BBFC

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