IMPACS of a Great Coach
With the measurement part of 1PW System going strong and working for many teams across the country I am always focusing on new ways for coaches to strengthen their connection with their players. I want to help make their relationships with the players as strong as the measurement piece of the 1PW System. The following are some thoughts on making big IMPACS on your players this upcoming season.
I used the following six criteria to help you develop those connections with your players that are so critical to make things meaningful and long lasting. I do know that 99% of our players won’t go pro or make a living from sports in one way or another. The vast majority of players we come in contact with are not going to benefit from baseball or softball. What they can gain is some life lessons about work ethic, valuing people for more than what they can provide the team through their physical abilities, and other crucial lessons that will help them be better members of their adult communities.
Admittedly making sure players know they are valued is tough to do when you need to get practice plans ready, groom the field, make line-ups, do stats, groom the field, talk with your AD, get assistants on the same page, groom the field…you get the picture. The next few ideas can help you as you “check-in” with players throughout practice.
I – Immediate
This one is especially important if you are made aware of an issue that you know a player is dealing with. It could be related to grades or family issues. Whatever is the case, attend to those players first that day and make your response to them quick. This will ensure in tough times you are a caring individual who wants to be apart of players lives. Once addressing the most sensitive items in players lives then begin the process of getting to as many others as possible. Many coaches find during warm-ups is a great time and other prefer to do it before practice begins. Find the time that works for you. Divide up your players and staff to make sure all get that immediate attention they deserve as part of your team.
M – Meaningful
When you are speaking with players for the first time that day make it more than just a simple “Hello.” or “How’s it going?” These are easy to do and yes they mean you are attempting to start something. Chances are they wont get you deeper with players. Avoid the type of questions that would allow one word answers. My favorite would be to tell me a lowlight from your day, really listen, paraphrase what they told you back to them. This shows you heard them. You could continue with this by asking what their highlight was from the day as well. Paraphrase again and see if this opens up any other avenues. Simple questions and after you have asked them a few times they will already be thinking of their responses before you even ask.
P – Private
Make this a conversation between the two of you. This is when players will feel most valued because you took the time to devote part of practice to only them, even if it is only a few minutes. Some coaches will have a chance to do this throughout the day at school and schedule time with players in their office. This has been great for coaches as well when they can be off the field, away from the game. This can provide a chance to be more private and a longer conversation may be able to take place as well. Obviously, this is not an option for everyone.
A – Authentic
It is simple: Be genuine. Be yourself. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. Players will see right through it.
C – Clean
As you may know, some coaches like to swear. I am guilty as the next coach to let one slip. During the time you are taking to provide players and yourself a chance to connect keep the foul language to zero. It is needed nor will it really provide any extra substance to your conversation. In fact, it may detract from the entire focus if the only thing they remember is how many bombs you dropped.
S – Specific
Stay away from generalities. People are most inclined to feel valued when you know about them ahead of time and ask personal questions about their life. “What are you doing this weekend?” is not as strong a question as, “When is the next time you are going fishing?” The first question is general, the second is showing you know things they enjoy and are curious about it as well.
Practice is under way in many states and the first game is right around the corner. Connect with your players in a way you never have before. Make IMPACS to your players that is felt for a lifetime.