Character matters. It shows in the little moments that don’t take much effort but have major effects. Find ways to celebrate a player who displays wonderful traits like empathy; but more importantly, be a model of empathy to your players.
A great way to establish a fantastic relationship with your athletes is to write one handwritten thank you note a day to someone on your team. Make this a habit a habit and you will find your athletes attitude change toward you. When an athlete knows you genuinely care about them, they will hear you better and want to do better for you and the team.