8 Essential Communication Tips for Youth Sports Coaches

Coaching is all about improvement, both for players and for coaches themselves. And one of the best ways to improve is by reading up on your area of expertise. If you’re a coach, you’ve come to the right place!

To improve your communication skills, check out these tips from the Hardwood Hustle podcast.

Shine a Light on Problems

Focus on issues you find yourself sweeping under the rug, problems you don’t want to share with others or challenges your team struggles with. If you don’t, players may begin to interpret your silence about these issues in the wrong way. Having transparency in your program will prevent these problems from becoming too big to handle, and will make you a better team.

Think of Communication as a Bridge

This bridge helps you connect with people, reconnect with those you’ve lost touch with and build a stronger team with enduring connections between every member. Stress to your team how important using communication as a bridge is in becoming closer.

Assume More

When we communicate, we often assume our audience knows what we’re referring to. However, this isn’t always the case and leads to miscommunication. If we take the opposite approach and assume the audience doesn’t know exactly what we are discussing, we have a much better chance at being intentional and clear with our communication.

Recap Important Messages

At the end of your conversations with your players, make it a point to recap what you just communicated. Often times, what coaches say is not the same thing as what the players hear. Use a recap to get on the same page with your players and reduce your miscommunications going forward.

Identify When Players Are Most Likely to Talk

It’s important to understand when players are more willing to talk and when they feel more reserved. Take advantage of moments when they are most likely to talk and make yourself available to them. Those moments bring incredible opportunities to connect more with your players.

Talk With Your Players, Not To Your Players

You are a team, and you are trying to reach a goal together. Bring your players into conversations, have open discussions and find out how they’re feeling. Notice how this enhances your communication with those players.

Provide a Good Example

Understand that your players imitate you. Evaluate how you handle yourself, your body language, eye contact, posture and more. Your players are watching and will imitate you. We communicate more than just when we speak, and it’s crucial to understand what messages we impart non-verbally.

Greet Before You Speak

Before you get into the meat of your instruction, greet your players. Ask how they are doing and feeling. This allows you to understand how you can better communicate with them while coaching.

Try these communication drills at your next practice or game!

The Hardwood Hustle podcast is hosted by Adam Bradley and TJ Rosene. Joined by the biggest names in basketball, Hardwood Hustle strives to educate, empower and encourage their listeners with each and every episode.

(These communication tips were developed by TeamSnap and Hardwood Hustle. Tune in to Hardwood Hustle for more!)

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