When I began my journey into the world of sport psychology I had a very narrow focus: Help athletes be as good as possible all the time. Although that is still part of what I would like to do, it is now only a part of what I hope to do with sport psychology. My scope has broadened tremendously, and one area I hadn’t considered when I started out is helping coaches. I can remember being exposed to several units on best coaching practices in my first sport psychology course. It can be challenging to read something of this nature because none of us are perfect as coaches. If you are reading this, it’s probably because you think you can do better. When looking to improve, at anything, then you are forced to reflect on what you presently do to if you are truly hoping to get better.
With that in mind, there are so many techniques and methods to being an effective coach. Learning to give feedback, how to communicate expectations with players and parents, post-game management, and proper development approach are just a few of the many topics. The greatest piece of coaching advice I have read though is that you need to be yourself CONSISTENTLY. As coaches, we preach it constantly to the players we coach. “You need to be consistent.” “I need to know what I am going to get from you.” “I want guys who will make the routine play all the time.” This can be a maddening challenge at really every level of play. There is a reason many high school athletes are inconsistent: They are high school athletes. We need to have the same expectations for ourselves that we have for the athletes we coach. “We need to be consistent.” “Players need to know what they are going to get from us.” “We need to be able to make the routine decisions consistently.” Players respond to different coaching styles. There are some methods that are more effective than others, but looking around the coaching landscape of any sport, at any level of play, will reveal many personalities and ways of doing things. What I would guarantee, however, is the best coaches are consistent in what they do. Being the best version of yourself possible is something to strive for.
I leave you with a quote from the late, great Harvey Dorfman. The simplistic genius resonates with me, and I hope it resonates with you as well. “Consistent behavior gets consistent results.” We expect it from our athletes. Let’s have the same accountability for ourselves.