Do you know what kind of coach you are? Can you describe your style? How you motivate players? Are you impactful in tapping into players needs to be affirmed and coached positively?
I won’t continue with the 20 questions, but I will suggest that however you usually show up, it can be a game changer when you are able to be you – but also be the kind of coach (each of!) your players needs you to be for their growth and love of the game.
In other words, you should absolutely bring your authentic personality to the field – it won’t work to try to over-emulate to be too much like somebody else or something you are not. But after thoughtful reflection and getting to know your players, you should also absolutely have a strong sense of how to provide communication that is individualized to the receiver when giving one-to-one feedback. This will lead to greater impact and larger intended outcomes for the player, and possibly for the entire squad.
Personality. Mood. Confidence. History. All of these and more can play into the nuances of how a message is received. Your choice of approach and words are important. They can encourage and energize or paralyze and deflate. And what works with one player, might not (actually, likely won’t) work for another. “I need you to…” vs. “I know you can…”. Public acknowledgment vs. private discussion. Intense and impassioned vs. calm and casual. And so on.
If it feels like an overwhelming prospect to try to personalize your coaching, I am guessing you already do some of it quite naturally without realizing it. I’m also willing to bet that you are capable of doing even more with great benefit! It’s worth the effort, so:
I need you to try! Also: I know you can do it!
Jemma Merrick is a life-long soccer fan, long-time soccer player and coach, and current soccer mom. After high school, Jemma played both Division I and Division III collegiate soccer, at the University of Virginia and Macalester College, respectively.