COMMUNICATION

The COACH is a LEADER and great leaders COMMUNICATE well.

So why is clear communication so important?

1. Empowers relationships

Relationships are built and developed by positive encounters with others. Communication will be key to this process – without effective skills, it will be difficult to effectively build healthy relationships.

3. Builds an effective team

If open communication within a team is encouraged and modelled, a more cohesive and effective team will emerge. Good communication within a team also tends to boost team morale.

4. Manages athletes

When coaches are effective communicators, they are more able to inform athletes of what is expected from them. Good communication skills helps coaches provide constructive feedback to their athletes and team, build better relationships, and understand personal goals that players may wish to work towards.

5. Contributes to growth

A lack of communication can lead to a confused and misaligned team. Communication leads to productivity, clarity and team alignment.

6. Ensures transparency

When regular communicating happens effectively, teams and relationships become more transparent. This is important in building trust in you as a coach, and with the team.

KEYS TO COMMUNICATION

Learn to Listen: Listening needs to be intentional, not accidental. Whether you’re coaching the under 7s C grade team or the A-league, being a great listener is an empowering skill for a coach. “Leaders who don’t listen will eventually be surrounded by people with nothing to say.” Andy Stanley

Engage the eyes: eye contact communicates connection, care and interest. If you are not genuinely interested in your players and athletes, then why are you coaching in the first place?

Empower their emotions: validate and affirm the emotions of your athletes, they are real and important to them. Don’t brush their emotions aside, even at the highest level of elite sport, athletes are human.

Control your chaos: “Intensity makes you stronger. Emotionalism makes you weaker.” “Emotionalism—ups and downs in moods, displays of temper-ament—is almost always counterproductive, and at times disastrous. I came to understand that if my own behaviour was filled with emotionalism, I was sanctioning it for others. As leader, my behaviour set the bounds of acceptability. And letting emotions spill over onto the court was simply unacceptable. The impact my example had on those under my leadership was another compelling reason to become vigilant in controlling my feelings and behaviour. The message I sent to the team was simple: “If you let your emotions take over, you’ll be outplayed.” John wooden.

Create consistency: If your team isn’t sure which one of your multiple personalities are going to turn up to training today, then you’re in communication crisis. Be consistent in how you communicate, behave and respond. Don’t keep your athlete second guessing by being inconsistent with your attitude, tone and demeanour.

Model the method: You need to coach by example and model the style, manner and delivery of all communication. “The things you hope to teach those under you are best taught by your own behaviour demonstration whether it’s the act of showing respect for others, being on time, shooting a free throw, or exercising self-control. Action speaks louder than words.” John Wooden, Wooden on Leadership.

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