empower your players

Recently we have discussed how coaches must trust their players, how players must trust their coaches and how players must trust each other. After you have gained their trust you must empower your players to do their job. This might seem fairly simple, but it might be far more difficult than we originally think.

Question, during a game what is your main goal as a coach? Also, during the game what is your coaching style? The overwhelming majority of coaches would say that their main goal as a coach is to develop their players with a secondary goal of winning. When developing players they are talking about not just growing players skills as an athlete, but also helping them grow as people. As such at practice they will be relaxed and focused on their players. They won’t yell much but rather they will talk things out and work to show their players where they can grow and how they can be better. That being said, once the game starts, that lighthearted attitude has a tendency to disappear. We see it in professional and college sports all the time, coaches pacing the sideline and yelling at their players. We have to remember that at those levels, the coach’s main job is to get the best out of their players and win. The more they win the better the school or organization looks. That being said, youth teams have a very different. The growth of the player should be viewed more importantly than winning.

So why does the coaches attitude change from practice to game? The main issue here is that coaches, regardless of what they say want to win. Parents want their kids to win. When you’re at practice everything is fun and games. It is very easy to relax and enjoy. Once you get to the game it becomes serious. Everything you have been teaching at practice is out there for everyone to see. The performance of the team is on you. As such coaches have a tendency to lose themselves during games.

Here’s the thing, it’s the kids game not the coaches. When you overreact to situations you are more likely to push the players away from you than bring them together and get them to listen. We also have to remember that it is only a game not life or death. Remember the kids are the ones playing, not the coaches. So let the kids play. Let them learn. And let them enjoy themselves. Trust your players. If you did your job at practice then they will do theirs in the game.
Empower your players and allow them to do what they need to. And everything else will be just fine.