• Gold Medal Squared

Top 10 Things Coaches do to Sabotage Their Athletes

I’m currently working on a new team building presentation for our Volleyball Coaching Foundations Clinic.  While doing some research online, I found some very interesting information on positive coaching.  After collecting some information from a swimming website, and adding some thoughts of my own, I’ve come up with a Top 10 list of things not to do when coaching club or high school volleyball.  The intent is not to sound negative.  I think these are all very common mistakes, and if they are brought to our attention in an organized way perhaps it helps us?  So, here we go….

1.  Allow your athletes to talk you into to compromising the training.

Reality:  They will try.  You can’t compromise your way to great.

2.  Allow them to overcome your willingness to coach with their unwillingness to learn. (Keep teaching)

Reality:  It’s the thousandth time you say something that it may penetrate.  Don’t quit on 999.  We have a great blog post on “making changes” that you should read as well.

3.  Fall into the trap of trying to make them “feel better” after a match or tournament in which they performed poorly.

Reality:  Young people need “truth tellers” – not people who know how to blow smoke at them.  Tell them where they are, and what they need to get better.  They need coaching, not just kind words.  Tel them how to be BETTER.

4.  Coach for the short-term reward rather than the long term good of the athlete.  Allow parent pressure to influence you in this regard.

Reality:  At the young ages, our primary goal needs to be fundamentals.  Keep this as your focus.  Your domain is training your athletes.  Don’t let your parents intrude on your domain.

5.  Fail to get the athletes’ parents educated on the sport.  Nothing will fail faster than undereducated sport parents.

Reality:  Take the time to educate parents.  It will pay off!  Remember, you are sales agents first, and change agents second.

6.  Assistant coaches undermine the head coach in front of the athletes.

Reality:  It happens…  A lot.  If you’re an assistant coach and you have a problem with the head coach, you have two options….  Go work it out with the head coach directly, or keep your mouth shut.

7.  Fail to “listen” to the athletes, parents, or other coaches.  Just fail to listen, period.

Reality:  You can only learn with your mouth shut.  Seek to understand first, and then be understood.

8.  Beat athletes down with negativity.  There’s a difference between telling the truth and negativity.  Our athletes need confidence, encouragement, honesty, and trust.

Reality:  We are all guilty of being too negative at times.  Remember, you may think you are being positive, but perhaps your tone is negative?  Take a peek in the mirror from time to time to ensure you are not “a negative coach.”

9.  Argue with the athletes parents about what diet the child should be on.  Or whether they should go to church on Sunday or not.  Or whether a family vacation is more important than the Las Vegas Open?

Reality:  How would you like every parent on your team to provide his/her input on your practice plans?  They have parental areas, and you have coaching areas.  Allow their domain over their areas.  Discuss the “gray areas” with the child’s best interest at heart.

10.  Reinvent the wheel and fail to learn from anyone who coached in the 100 years prior to you.

Reality:  Honor all that has been learned.  It’s perfectly acceptable to “steal” great ideas from other coaches.  That’s how we learn.

I hope this helps!!

Mike Wall – Gold Medal Squared

REFERENCES John Leonard, American Swimming Coaches Association