1. Always greet your athletes with an open ear
We’re often so invested in getting the content of our session out that we treat our athletes like machines rather than people. Be interested in your athlete’s lives outside of sport. Take note of how they’re feeling (physically and mentally). Understand any emotional stresses they’re facing at the time. An important maths test coming up at school can be the difference between an athlete on fire in the session and one who is completely off their game.
2. Always set clear and concise expectations at the start of a session
It’s easy to get lost on the way to somewhere you’ve never been before if you don’t have a good navigator. At the start of each session (in as few words as possible) brief your athletes on the road they’ve already travelled (i.e. what they achieved in their last session) and where you’re about to go, clearing stating the purpose of the session and the outcomes you expect. Check in regularly with each of your athletes during the session to make sure they’re still on track.
3. Always ask your athletes for feedback about your coaching
What is ‘fun’? At the end of your next session ask your athletes (individually) this question. Then ponder their replies. Most of us would agree that making our sessions ‘fun’ is a crucial piece of the coaching puzzle. However, fun can be many different things for one athlete compared to another. Purposeful questioning will allow you to really understand your athletes so that you can adapt your content accordingly.
Try these three methods in your next session.