I asked college student-athletes to share their thoughts about their generation and the gap with current coaches. Many themes arose from athletes’ answers. See these and direct quotes to help gain awareness and understanding into the athletes’ point of view.
What are things coaches can do to help bridge the gap?
70% of responses involved having a better understanding of individual athletes and improving communication. This can be broken down into several areas.
Know athletes as a person both inside and outside of sport
- Inside: “One thing my current coach did was give out a questionnaire which included whether the player likes a ‘tough’ or ‘soft’ coach. I think if more coaches did that it would allow them to get on the same page as their players.”
- Outside: “Coaches should spend more time with their athletes one-on-one outside the sport. Have real personal conversations to know your players more as a person rather than just a player on your team.”
- “Show that they care because not athletes will know and sometimes it’s hard to tell.”
- “Coaches need to continue to ask if we are okay and really make sure that we are.”
- “Hold team meetings to assess everyone’s goals as an individual, but more importantly as a team.”
- “Coaches need to routinely sit down with their teams and ask them what their concerns are.”
Additional areas that arose:
Be open to player’s suggestions
- “Coaches can encourage players to share ideas on how they think the team could play better.”
- “Coaches can become open to the players giving suggestions when it comes to the team’s game plan.”
When mistakes occur
- “Instead of telling at the first mistake they see, talk to the athletes in a more positive way and have the message be ‘it’s ok to make mistakes,’ and then show the athlete what they did wrong and how to fix it.”
An interesting note – there were several references to coaches being like a parent and teams feeling like a family.
Want to see the whole series?