Our voice as “Coach” stays with our athletes long after they hand in their jersey for the last time. Our words echo inside their brains, the good and the bad. For example, I remember when my high school volleyball coach spent over an hour with me after practice preparing me for a job interview and sharing tips on how to dress and what to say. I also remember when my eighth-grade baseball coach yelled at me from the dugout to “just throw fu$&%ing strikes” when I struggled to get the ball over the plate.
At the beginning of every season, I sit down with the parents and let them know what they can expect from me as the coach of their child. I go through a list of bullet points I have curated throughout the years, so there are no surprises
To start the new school year, I wrote down for you a sample of how my parent meetings go. It is directed at a youth football team. Enjoy!
This week I would like to defer to my friend John O’Sullivan, founder of ChangingTheGameProject.com . You may have seen him in a TedTalk from a few years ago speaking about the importance of youth sports and how to make it a fun experience for kids. There is a really funny commercial at minute 6:11 that reverses the typical conversation between an overbearing father and a youth athlete. Ever wonder what it would be like if kids showed up on the golf course and talked to their dad the way some dads talk to their kids? Hilarious.
"I’ve never known a man worth his salt who in the long run, deep down in his heart, didn’t appreciate the grind, the discipline. There is something in good men that really yearns for discipline and harsh reality of head to head combat." ~Vince Lombardi, Hall of Fame NFL coach
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.