David Jacobson from the Positive Coaching Alliance says the #1 problem he sees with most coaches is that they do not connect with their players.
“If you as a coach do not take into account your player’s personality, their individuality, and their opportunity for development as a total person, you’re blowing it. You are abdicating your responsibility as a coach for sports. You should be focused on character education and developing better athletes, better people.”
At PFP, we conquer.
Here are 3 Simple-But-Not-Easy Ways to Connect with your Athlete’s Better
- Meet with each athlete individually 2 times per season minimum. 30 minutes, 1 on 1. Have specific questions for the athlete to answer BEFORE the meeting, along with some questions to ask during. This will create a culture where your athlete’s know you are always there for them.
- “What is your biggest challenge or obstacle right now in this sport?”
- “What is your biggest challenge or obstacle right now in life?”
- “How can I best help you overcome those obstacles?”
- “As your coach, how can I be a better leader for you?”
There are certainly other questions you can ask. But at the end of the day, those two 30 minute sessions could change that young man or woman’s life. They could inspire them to believe in themselves. This is the impact we committed to making as coaches when we signed up.
2. Facilitate mindset strengthening exercises occasionally at the beginning of practices. Here is an free example of a Mindset Performance exercise we do with our athletes:
Overcoming Your Self-Limiting Beliefs (the changeable things that you think or say that hold you back from your full potential)
What is a self-limiting belief? Anything that you tell yourself or think about yourself that LIMITS YOU...ONLY because you are letting it.
A Self-Limiting Belief is something that is CHANGEABLE if you looked for a solution and worked on it, but you say and act as if it is PERMANENT.
- Push ups (insert any other skill or activity) are really hard for me.
- I am the type of person who waits until the last minute to do things.
- I can’t hit a curveball.
- I’m not really the leader type.
- Making varsity is going to be nearly impossible.
- I could never motivate my teammates to play better.
- I’ve always done it this way.
*If you keep telling yourself these things they will become harder and harder to change.
Write Down YOUR Self-Limiting Beliefs
3 Steps to ERASE Self-Limiting Beliefs
- Recognize and identify a SELF-LIMITING BELIEFS QUICKLY
- Rephrase your statement it into a question→ Instead of, “Push ups are hard.” Instead say, “How COULD I “get better at push ups”?
- Take action and begin working on that solution.
You are where you are right now because of the self-limiting beliefs you have, and because of the ones you have overcome.
(If you are interested in mindset coaching for your team or athlete you can read more on our Mindset Performance academy.)
3. Be vulnerable. Share your flaws, your weaknesses, your heart. There is no better way to connect with another human than to make them realize you too are human.
If you take the time to better understand the psychology of your players, what is going on in their minds, what they are feeling, than you can better prepare messages and stories that make them realize you too went through similar trials.
Athletes, especially middle and high schoolers, want to feel that they are understood. When you know that your coach understands you, they “get you”, you are more open to growing and changing. Do this one alone and it will lead to a higher performing team over time.
I agree with David Jacobson. We as coaches must connect better with our athletes IF we want them to rise up to their full potential. I believe the end result is a higher performing athlete and team. If we can help, shoot us a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dedicated to your athlete’s success,
P.S. We still have a 4 spots open in our Summer Total Athlete Development Program at PFP. Each day that goes by where your athlete is not strengthening their mindset and their body is a day they won't get back. Let us know if you still want your athlete to get better this summer.