3 Questions Every Athlete Should Ask the Coach
Athletes who want to continually improve and be the best teammate possible should be proactive by building great relations with their coach. One way to do this is to develop ongoing, healthy dialogue with the coach and take to heart the advice offered. While the feedback might not always sound positive on the surface, coaches usually see more objectively than the athlete (or his or her parents), and can provide keen insights that are unique to the individual based on observable weaknesses.
There are countless questions athletes might ask their coach, but so not to be a burden I have identified three core questions that cover most of the bases:
- How can I improve? Coaches love it when athletes take it upon themselves and solicit feedback for future improvement and receive the information without argument or dispute. Asking about self-improvement should not be a thinly veiled way of questioning the coach’s player personnel decisions, but instead information that can be used to set future goals and increase the likelihood for ongoing athletic development and success.
- How can I better help the team? This question will likely prompt different answers depending on your role on the team. For example, if you are a starter the coach may talk directly about specific leadership skills he would like to see developed, like making better off-field decisions or brushing up on grades. On the other hand, if you are a reserve the coach might focus her advice on being the best scout team player, or trying to keep a healthy, positive attitude even though you aren’t seeing a lot of playing time.
- What else can I do to help the program overall? This catch-all question is designed to pick up on anything the first two questions didn’t quite cover, and might lead to some important advice. Some coaches might see this question as an opportunity to talk about things like building better relations with underclassmen to continue winning traditions, encouraging the team to be more visible to the community by embarking on leadership endeavors, or starting a positive social media campaign to get more folks out to games.
Athletes are sometimes intimidated to speak to their coach 1-1 about these questions, but being proactive and soliciting credible feedback is one of the best methods for self-improvement. Of course, time your questions tactfully and at a time that is convenient for the coach, and not immediately before, during, or after a game. Take the feedback you receive to heart, and be sure to set future specific, measurable goals so that you can make use of the information you learned. Oh, and thank the coach for his or her time!