7 tips for being a great coach

1. Know the game and how to teach appropriate skills If you are a beginning coach, review the rules to see if any have changed. Consider the skill levels of your players. There are many sites dedicated to teaching skills.

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  • 1. Know the game and how to teach appropriate skills

  • If you are a beginning coach, review the rules to see if any have changed. Consider the skill levels of your players. There are many sites dedicated to teaching skills. You can’t teach a player to run to home plate if you haven’t yet taught them where first, second, or third base is. Consider having an older player come in and demonstrate various skills. It is important that the players show you respect by holding the balls and making eye contact while you are instructing them. Consider watching or asking other coaches how they deal with certain situations. Be confident in yourself. The players will tend to ignore you if they cannot trust in you as their coach.

  • 2. Have Fun

  • The coach's attitude determines the atmosphere of the practice. Are you causing tension in your players by the pressure you put on them? Are you practicing too much for the age level you are coaching? You can reward your players with a drill of their choice after some focused hard work. A consequence of not going for a ball can be doing a pushup. But it’s more fun when the coach does it right along with the players. Be creative: for younger age volleyball players you can bring in balloons to teach serving skills.

  • 3 Know how to accept criticism or mistakes

  • Players and parents are eager to share their ideas or opinions. Consider responding with, “I will look into that" or "I will think about that.” It gives you a chance to determine what and how you want to handle the situation. Coaches are not perfect and the players can handle knowing it. Don’t hesitate to apologize.

  • 4. Mix it up

  • There are times during the season when the sport becomes a chore. Parents, players, and coaches get tired and bored. Don’t be afraid to try new drills. Have the players take turns being the coaches. It helps a player's personal performance to teach a skill to someone else. The player thinks about the little things in their performance that make a big difference. A coach can also pick up on some ideas on his coaching skills.

  • 5. Build all kids up

  • It is easy to coach players who have a natural talent for the sport. It is your responsibility to increase the skill level of all players. Smile at your players. Compliment your players. Focus on the little progress that is made. So maybe your player still can’t make a free throw shot but at the end of the season they can finally hit the rim of the basketball hoop. Celebrate those little things and those players will not only continue to improve in their sport but you might actually teach them some very important life skills.

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  • 6. Communication

  • The younger the children the more important it is to communicate with the parents. You should let your players and their parents know what the expectations are. As long as parents agree, coaches of older kids can communicate more directly with the players. A written schedule is helpful for the players' families. Make sure the parents have a way of getting in touch with you in case of emergencies.

  • 7. You are a part of the team

  • Your players need to be able to count on you. They are relying on you to show up for practice. They are relying on you to teach them skills and how they can personally improve. They are also relying on you to be their leader. If you give up on them and stop encouraging them, who will? A coach can build unity in a team or can divide one. Are you helping build unity or division by the things you say or do? Are you showing favoritism? There is a time when you play the best players in order to win the game because you are reaching for a title for your high school or college. Until then it is your responsibility to give all players the chance to play, enjoy the sport, and learn valuable skills that can be used on and off the court.

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Christine James is a small town girl living zealously. 

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