While the coach's role is central to the athlete's performance, it is sometimes difficult to define just what coaching requirements are demanded by a given situation because highly competitive sports involve stress and structure.
Stress is an everyday reality for both players and coaches. Frequently, coaches are too focused on helping players prepare for competition and many times do not effectively deal with their own physical and mental well-being. Coaches should not look for just one or the best way to coach but rather for ways their own set of personality traits can be enhanced and utilized to their best advantage.
Coaches need to learn to objectively assess their levels of vulnerability to set up appropriate strategies to compensate them. This might entail taking necessary breaks, getting away from the playing field, seeing friends outside the sports world. If these factors are not considered, then they may influence a coaches behavior and may contribute to inconsistencies in their team's performance.
The following list of strategies may be helpful to the coach in maintaining a standard of excellence and a winning attitude.
- Balance. Self-acceptance and sensitivity to others feelings are crucial characteristics in achieving balance. Keeping one's temperament and emotions in check has a calming effect on athletes. It also prevents exposing weaknesses and vulnerability to opponents and maintains consistency and continuity.
- Positive thinking. Projecting as "it ain't over until it's over" attitude improves morale and motivation. Think of Tony Dungey’s demeanor and positive attitude during a game whether in a blow-out or in the direst of circumstances.
- Respect. Respect yourself and those you coach by honoring or showing high regard for the opinion, wishes, and judgment of your coaching staff and your players. At the same time, you validate yourself. Give credit where credit is due.
- Vision. Each coach must have a vision of something extraordinary that can be accomplished. This means laying the foundation for what you want to accomplish, putting it into place and looking at the long-range goals rather than just the immediate ones. Share this vision with your team and work toward it together. The goal is to minimize disruption and focus attention away from unimportant matters.
- Define roles and expectations. Roles need to be clearly defined for both players and coaches during times of practice and competition. Effective coaches provide players with both accurate and compassionate feedback so that they can learn to accept constructive evaluation and move toward improvement.
- Goal Setting. Setting goals helps monitor progress, maintain structure and keeps the focus of what you want to accomplish. Set immediate goals daily and weekly and long term goals for yourself and determine the most effective ways to impart these goals to your players. Sharing goals with players ensure that each player knows what is expected of him/her and how to efficiently and effectively work toward those goals.
- Value character not reputation. A coach always needs to place importance on his/her own character, not his/her reputation. Most successful coaches view their own mental preparation as being just as important as their player's physical preparation and skill training.