Improving Coachability

When recruiting student athletes, there are many factors to take into consideration, performance being pretty high on the list. Integrity is up there too, along with culture fit. But probably the most important quality of any student athlete is how well he can take instruction and be coached, his coachability.

Now athletes fall on the spectrum of coachability. Some kids simply are not able at all to be coached. They think they know it all. They have trust issues. They will not listen to suggestion or criticism. These players, regardless of their skill level, can bring the entire culture of a program down. It takes a coach with special communication skills to be able to handle a player like this and be able to work him into the team dynamic, if at all.

But most athletes have varying levels of coachablility. And it's that gray area where there are opportunities to improve your player's ability to listen and grow.

In order to improve your player's coachability, find out what is the motivation for your athlete to play the game. Find out specifically what that player's goals and dreams are. The answer to that question is not always just "winning." Tap into what drives them to play on a personal level.

Do they play because they want to make their parents proud? Do they play hard because they want recognition? Do they play for the little successes? Are they goal driven? Do they play for the legacy of the team? Do they play for each other? Finding out what really motivates your players will lay the groundwork for improving their coachability.

Once you find out what makes your players tick, you can communicate how your suggestions will help them get there. Show them in multiple ways. Show them in a team setting. Don't over promise, but show your athletes as clearly as you can, how your instruction will help them become the player that they want to be. Reinforce your vision with the team through open and honest communication, and the strength of your relationship will lay the groundwork for improved coachability.

Whether they are NFL-bound or looking for success in the boardroom, you are coaching your student athletes to greater success after college ends. Remind them that you are dedicated to their success beyond next Saturday, beyond next season. You want to help them realize that they are #Hear2Win.