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  • Writer's pictureGold Medal Squared

Messages We Send

Messages we Send – Written by GMS Staff Member Rob Browning

During a match we are constantly sending messages to our team, and our players are receiving them!  Most of the messages we send, we do so unintentionally, but our players are still listening and watching. Knowing that, let’s make sure the messages we are sending are helping our team, not hurting it.

Many times we send the wrong message, and that message is PANIC!

Panic: a state or feeling of extreme fear that makes someone unable to act or think normally. A situation that causes many people to become afraid and to rush to do something.

Here are some ways to help us communicate confidence and belief, which helps our players perform their best.


Coaching styles are as varied as personalities. It’s important to be ourselves, but we need to be our best selves. Too often we suffer from Jekyll and Hyde syndrome, where we turn into a different person once the whistle blows, or once things start going south for our team.


If we are doing the things that we believe are best for our team, then there’s no need to radically change them simply because we lost a match. Doing the things that put our team on the path to being their best is always the best path, even after a tough loss. Improvement is the element of change with our team, not radical departures from the journey’s path.


Demonstrate belief in your team by giving them time and space to find their rhythm and play the way they have prepared to play. Resist the urge to make a substitution or call a timeout too quickly. Overreactions to the normal ebbs and flows of a match indicate to your players that you don’t believe in them.

When change is needed, then make changes. That might mean calling a timeout, making a sub, tactical adjustments, or even showing more emotion or creating a sense of urgency in our communication. But making necessary changes is different than communicating panic.

One of the mantras we stole from Hugh McCutcheon is “good after good after good”. Steadiness and consistency are traits we want our teams to have, and they are the opposite of panic.

Let’s be a steady, confident presence on the sidelines, communicating belief and trust to our players.  This will help them play at their peak.

Rob Browning – St Mary’s Women’s Volleyball/Gold Medal Squared

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