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Skills athletes need to effectively communicate with coaches

What skills does your generation need to communicate more effectively?

Author’s note: I was impressed with how spot on athletes were in their self-assessment  in what I view as areas where they can improve.

My favorite response: “Actually communicating sometimes.”

I think many young people expect their coach to magically know what is going on in their heads or athletes try and communicate strictly through body language and expect the coach to know the message being communicated…which is often either not being picked up by the coach or misconstrued.

44% of athletes stated they need to communicate their needs with the coach. One individual stated quite frankly that they needed to “be available and willing to meet up to discuss any problems or situations.”

There were two areas athletes believe they should discuss:

  • Issues affecting training/performance
    • “Something is not working or how something else may work better as that could really help the team in the long run.”
    • “We need to learn how to ask for help. I see a lot of girls talk about how they don’t know what they did wrong or why they missed a ball, but they don’t talk to the coach about it and ask how to improve. In my experience, when I’ve asked one of my coaches for help, they are more than willing to help me and it allows me to become a better player.”
  • Out of sport issues
    • “If they are having a problem with another athlete or falling behind in school, your coaches are there for you to help you.”
    • “Know that it’s ok to reach out to a coach outside of the sport that you play.”

2 important element of this are to not be intimidated by the coach:

  • “Athletes shouldn’t be shy to speak up to a coach. Nowadays you see athletes hide behind their parents because they are too scared to speak up for themselves and they need mommy and daddy to do all the speaking for them. It’s time to grow up and speak up.”

And to be confident

  • “Be more confident in ourselves and not let the coach’s status intimidate you. In order for the coach to hear your opinion, you have to speak up.”
  • “Confidence in ourselves and have a presence about us to let people know we are there and have importance.”
  • “Be confident to talk to your coach or your peers. Coaches these days will talk and communicate with you and help you for what needs to be worked on.”

Face to face communication was also deemed an important skill to develop:

  • “Be more open to face to face communication. I think people shy away from confrontation.”
  • “Learn how to express themselves more directly instead of subliminal messages and expect the coaches to be able to read between the lines always.”
  • “Learn how to have a real conversation in person and be able to talk face-to-face. Many people from our generation only know how to communicate through a phone or computer screen.”


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