Tough Coach? No Problem!

13 Feb

Ohio State Buckeyes head coach Matta talks with guard Craft in the second half against the Wichita State Shockers during their West Regional NCAA men's basketball game in Los AngelesIt’s important to be a coachable athlete.  As a player you want to flourish under your coach, not flounder.

At some point, you may find yourself playing for a “tough” coach.  Adjectives like demanding, hard-to-please, challenging, and exacting may come to mind.  Hopefully, fair is also a word that describes the coach.

Perhaps you haven’t had much experience playing for this type of coach.  How will you make it work?

Much of the time, it’s a question of attitude.  Additionally, communication and collaboration are very important components in building and maintaining a positive, productive player-coach relationship.

Every player has something to offer, and it’s up to you and your coach to define and develop your role and perform it to the best of your ability.

Sure, it’s a challenge.  But, with a “can-do” attitude and by following a few tips, you might find that making it work is not as hard as you think.

Check Your Attitude

Listen to what your coach has to say, and respect his or her experience and expertise.  Be willing to try new approaches and strategies.  Don’t brood about (what you perceive as) your coach not valuing your contribution.  No one wants to play with an athlete who is dismissive of suggestions or assignments.

Be Positive

There’s a lot you can learn from your coach, if you are open and receptive to learning.  Ask questions and strive to continue learning.  Your willingness and enthusiasm to embrace new ways of doing things will be appreciated.  Recognize that both you and the coach are building a relationship that allows each of you to be successful on the court or field of play.  Absorb the energy and enthusiasm your coach brings to the team.

Build Relationships With Teammates

Connecting with teammates, both on and off the court, can help you foster your relationship with your coach.  Stay appropriately engaged with teammates on common social networks with positive posts.  Forward relevant articles to your coach with a note, letting him or her know that you found it helpful or useful.

Improve Communication

Chances are, you under-communicate with your coach.  Get comfortable approaching and talking with him or her.  And remember, it should be you talking with your coach and not your parent(s).  Topics like playing time and comparisons with teammates are — and should be — off-limits.  Focus, instead, on your own self-development as a player.  Ask questions like, “In what specific areas can I work to improve in order to better contribute to the success of our team.”  Most coaches will make more of an effort to help you once they know you are willing to help yourself.

Don’t Snipe

Avoid making negative comments about your coach to your teammates, friends, etc., and keep the negative stuff OFF social media.  All that will accomplish is to cast you in a negative light, make things awkward for those around you,  and adversely affect your team chemistry.  What happens at practice should stay at practice, unless it involves something that has the potential to hurt you or others.

Get STRONGER, Get FASTER!

Your thoughts?

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