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Communication for Successful Coaching

Successful communication depends on developing good people skills and showing a human face. If coaches want players to listen over time, they cannot deliver their messages with sarcasm or threats.

It is important to maintain a positive and open communication channel with players. Ongoing and open communication will often deal with minor concerns before they become major problems.

Following are some important tips that will assist you in communicating more effectively with your players:

Demeanour Dress appropriately and have an open, positive and enthusiastic approach.
Acknowledgement Greet participants warmly by name or by physical acknowledgement. Take the trouble to pronounce players' names correctly.
Positioning In the coaching situation, ensure you can see everyone and they can see you.
Body Language Adopt a neutral body posture, facing your players. Also watch players' faces and gestures for clues on how they are reacting.
Eye Contact Looking your players in the eye shows sincerity and confidence. However, be aware that eye contact may not be appropriate in some cultures.
Voice Speak Speak clearly and use words at a level your players can understand, eg players who are new to the sport will not understand sport-specific jargon. Vary the tone of your voice to keep the interest up and adjust the volume according to the situation.
Listening Listening tends to be one of our weakest communication skills. Being a good listener is an essential coaching skill. Listen carefully to players' questions and comments and respect their views.
Feedback Have a positive and constructive attitude both when giving and receiving feedback from players. Offer sincere compliments and encouragement, eg "that's better", "what a good idea".

Remember, enthusiasm is infectious and, last but not least, having a sense of humour is a must.