Monitor Your Mouth
Coaching is selective communication. You’ve often heard me say that the more you coach, the less you may say in many sessions. Words matter. Speak with purpose and precision. And be productive with what and how you talk.
Know that you don’t always need to fill up a training session with unnecessary banter or excessive cheerleading. Often a non-verbal affirmation (i.e. thumbs up, a smile, pat on the back) is more powerful than words. Your personality should come out when you coach but also know how your athletes respond to your words and cues. Have you ever asked your athletes if they are okay with how you talk to them?
Your key time to speak is when you start the session and lead the session. The session explanation and movement demo is equally as important. Don’t rush the explanation and demo. Make sure you get verbal or other acknowledgement that the athletes understand your direction. Once it’s game-time, be more individual with your comments and stick to our skill, technique and movement efficiency coaching keys. If you are talking or cueing during the training session, keep it short and direct. Bounce around the room and observe all the athletes. If you see a reason to coach with purposeful words, do it then get out – words can often be a distraction when an athlete is trying to grind out some heavy reps. And if you see a technical point to correct, it’s often best to wait until after the set/block is done so the athlete can listen without moving.
Our coaching culture in World Gym Athletics is to coach with energy, sincerity, care and with professional language. Having fun and speaking socially is part of the coaching paradigm but it should be mixed in without losing the intent of the program. As coaches, we speak to inspire, support and improve.
"The most important thing in coaching is communication. It’s not what you say as much as what they absorb." - Red Auerbach