Are you an aspiring sports coach? Well, good for you because now’s an excellent time to become one. As per an ICF estimate, around 47,500 professional sports coaches are active worldwide. And according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the job role is expected to grow by 26%. That’s much faster than many other industries in the US. While the earning potential may not be as high ($36,330), you can still earn top dollars by joining professional ranks and state-level teams.
However, a sports coach’s role is not a simple one to step into. A sports mentor plays a vital role in making or breaking students’ and athletes’ careers. A lot of hopes and dreams rest on your shoulders. And you need the right set of skills on and off the field to lead a single player or team to victory. So how can you be a better sports coach? We’ve listed a few tips that will come in handy.
Avail maximum academic opportunities
Do you need to study to become a sports coach? Yes, you do. While most coaching jobs require a bachelor’s degree, higher education will help you bag better opportunities and salaries. So obtaining a master’s degree in sports administration is a good option. If you’re worried about infections in a post-pandemic world or can’t seem to find time during your current routine, you can take the online route. Distance learning empowers you to create a more flexible learning experience. It’s somewhat cheaper too.
Some tailored training courses and tutorials are also available for free or on a nominal registration fee on social media channels and microblogging sites. These can help you brush up on your soft skills.
Check your readiness
With great power comes great responsibility. Assess yourself- are you ready to invest your time and energy in someone so nascent who might not be able to reciprocate your instructions? Ask yourself if you are capable enough to understand the individual needs of young players? Sports are not secondary to academics. You are equally accountable for shaping novices as mathematics or science teachers are.
Control your anger
Disgracing your team after losing a match won’t help in polishing or motivating them. So, tame your anger, and develop self-control while instructing athletes. Rebuke them wisely only when needed. Your gentleness and caring behavior will penetrate the hearts of young players. They will admire you as an invaluable friend and a trustworthy advisor for their whole life.
Be humorous, not sarcastic
Humor helps heal the sense of loss. Au contraire, sarcasm leads to more humiliation. Just remember that a joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bone. So joke with your students, but don’t make fun of them. It will help you spread more positivity.
Do athletes grasp whatever you say? You can quickly assess this from their actions and how they follow your instructions. If they don’t understand you, it’s time to question your ability to connect and pass on the information. Don’t blame students for having slow semantic processing. Instead, work on your communication skills.
As a coach, you should know when to adopt a gentle tone and when to shout. You will have to spend hours with your athletes, so try to tune in and make necessary adjustments for a transparent exchange. It is also essential you post all announcements/information on a dedicated board after communicating verbally. Doing so will help to reduce incidents of miscommunication.
Be a listener
Fantastic coaches are wise, understanding, and empathetic because they are good listeners. This habit is linked with the ability to observe. Your observation makes you pay attention to the tiniest details. It enables you to give attention to your players. While being a keen listener and observant, you can guide your mentees precisely while addressing their issues without embarrassing them.
Setting up a clear goal and telling athletes and students your expectations is essential for developing a high-performing team. Set challenges and increase the difficulty level step by step during drills for long-term impact. Always explain the practice objectives before the match and guide how to overcome shortcomings after the match or training session.
You can also personalize goals for each team member depending on their strengths and weaknesses. Customizing goals will help you harness each player’s unique aspects and nurture the excellence you desire to achieve.
Promote a team culture
Collaboration is the magical potion for shaping the best-performing team. Motivate your athletes to maintain a positive environment in the locker room and on the field. This philosophy fosters the sportsman spirit and joins together a fragmented team. Encourage each member to take pride in being a part of the team. Teach them to support other players professionally and personally rather than playing in silos. It will ultimately eliminate negativity and promote healthy competition.
Trust your team
Everyone can make mistakes, but there is always room for improvement. So, it is imperative to show them that you believe in your students and athletes and respect their individuality. Don’t mix trust with being gullible. A meticulous coach instills all morals and characteristics in the players and shares the collective objectives while applying the high standards subtly. Trusting your team will boost their spirit, and they will go over and above to meet your expectations.
Encourage healthy habits
This one’s a no-brainer. A healthy diet and fitness regimen are crucial to building stamina and reducing injuries on the field. Encourage healthy eating, exercise, and discourage unhealthy habits such as drugs and alcohol. Also, encourage your trainees to be open about mental health and seek professional help whenever they need it.
Always remember, iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens others. This article mentions a few tips to help you become a better sports coach. Before coaching others, first prepare yourself for physical injuries, emotional breakdowns, and quarrels. Always communicate well to leave a lasting image on the young minds. Adopt a holistic approach to enhance stamina, agility, and fitness. Keep the balance and go step-by-step while reinforcing good sports habits and proficiencies.