Players don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care
That quote is one that has been around for a long time, although the author of it is in question (I have seen it attributed to a number of different people). Regardless of who first coined the phrase, it’s one that every coach should think about when developing their own unique coaching philosophy (Sport Success 360). Borrowing from the field of sport psychology, it’s clear that when players feel respected they are far more apt to pay attention to the coach, and they increase their motivation and mental toughness as a result.
Think about it for a moment – people care a lot less about your knowledge in most cases than they do your authenticity and true intentions. Similar to how we often hear the music before we take in the lyrics of a song, human beings more quickly “tune in” to see if you have their better interest in mind before they make an appraisal of your knowledge base.
Some coaches are masterminds of the X’s and O’s, but don’t seem to “connect” with their players. Other coaches, however, might be light on the strategies of coaching, but terrific at building strong relationships with players on the team – often propelling them to believe in themselves and reach new athletic heights as a result.
How a coach builds rapport with his players is a unique experience, but if he has genuine and true intentions the steps needed to do this really don’t need to be scripted. What I mean by this is that as human beings, it seems we have a built-in homing device when it comes insincere communication. With that said, coaches who truly believe in their players don’t really have to do anything except be their genuine, caring selves.
Developing plays and running practice drills are certainly important, but perhaps the biggest job for any coach is to build the trust necessary for his players to believe in him, and more importantly, through that coach-player relationship come to believe in themselves. It is in these moments where players will push out another set in the weight room, run another lap on the track, and study a few more minutes of film. Players who believe in their coach increase personal motivation, have more fun playing, and develop mental toughness for when times are tough.
Think about the significance of developing strong interpersonal relationships with the players you coach and watch how your team blossoms – if you need some help, check out our popular “Peak Performance for Coaches”audio pro0gram!