A coach plays an important role in the development of the players and the team. Not only must a coach demonstrate competence in the game, he must also have a thorough understanding about his players and the opponents. But more importantly, what separates a good coach from a great coach is the ability to deliver the much-needed inspiration to keep his team going.
Here are two strategies I used to inspire my players when I was a basketball coach.
Strategy #1: To inspire confidence, remind your players about obstacles they have overcome in the past
Not all games will turn out perfectly well. Some games can turn out to be a disaster even though your team and you have been preparing for it all season. Some opponents might be stronger than your team has expected. As a coach, how do you inspire rapid confidence in your team to overcome these challenges?
One effective strategy I discovered is to remind your players about the past achievements they have accomplished, or the past obstacles they have overcome. For example, if your team is trailing the opponent by 15 points over the last quarter, inspire your team by reminding them about a previous game when they have turned a 17-point deficit within a quarter to win the game against a seemingly stronger opponent. The more relevant the past accomplishment is to the current obstacle, the more effective the example will be.
Therefore, part of your duty as a coach is to take note of these accomplishments, whether they were achieved individually or as a group, or whether they were achieved during practice sessions or during competitive matches.
Strategy #2: Allow your players to visualize the desired outcome
Finally, allow your players to clearly visualize the desired outcome of the game. Your main role as a coach is to take your players from ‘Point A’ to ‘Point B’; from a losing team to a winning team, from inexperienced players to players with robust experience, and so on.
But before your players can reach ‘Point B’ (whichever goals you have set for ‘Point B’), you have to constantly allow them to visualize how it will be like if they have achieved it. What does it feel like to win that championship? How does it look like to master that complex maneuver? How does it feel like to have accomplished the goals they have set for the season?
Keep them focused through visualizations. If your inspirational speech does not allow your players to visualize where they want to be, your speech has failed.
These two strategies have worked wonders for me when I was a coach, and I am sure they can work very well for you, if deployed in the right manner. Go out and employ these strategies for your next coaching session, and enjoy the great results in can potentially bring to your team!
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