Communication is key

One of the key skills successful coaches need to have and continually improve upon is the ability to communicate well with their athletes. Clear communication can pave the way not just for success on the field but for a successful relationship overall, ensuring team cohesiveness and cementing the culture of the program.

Communication is a two-way street. It's important to not only communicate to the players your goals and expectations, but also to listen to what they are observing and noticing. Having a coach that will listen to concerns or suggestions helps create a "buy in" for the player.

There are two different types of communication: verbal and non-verbal.

With verbal communication, consider choosing words that will resonate with your team. Keeping your messages concise and on target will help guarantee your athletes will listen, pay attention and understand what you are saying.

With non-verbal communication, make sure that your body language, facial expressions and method of communication are matching the tone and the message of what you want to express. Telling a player that he's done a good job with a frown on your face  just isn't as effective as saying the same thing with a smile in front of other teammates. 

If you are noticing that you are not getting what you want from your athletes or if they just don't seem to be "getting it," you could be sending too many messages, or they might respond better to a different method of communication. Ask your fellow coaches what they might be observing from player behavior and listen to what your players are saying. The answer for the perfect communication strategy is there. You just need to discover it.