A pain point for many coaches is team communication.
It’s frustrating when players don’t talk on the court. It’s frustrating when players don’t communicate with their teammates and coaching staff.
And while many coaches work on improving their players’ communication, an often neglected aspect of our own development is the way we, as coaches, communicate with our players.
We work on the “big” items like getting better at offense or defense — but we often don’t get practical training on how to communicate better.
The fact of the matter is simple: to be a Master Teacher, we must learn how to communicate more effectively with our players and coaching staff.
One of the most powerful things we can do to improve our communication is to record ourselves during practice. It can be a video of a pre-practice huddle, a recorded talk to the entire team, or just an audio message during practice to study what you’re actually saying.
Self-awareness is the key factor in becoming a better communicator, and if we’re not listening to ourselves, it’s impossible to be self-aware of our communication.
Let me give you an example:
Recently I was putting a team through a workout and there was a young man with a high ceiling and lots of potential. Unfortunately, he’s been labeled as a soft, mentally weak player by his coaches and teammates.
I was talking to him before practice, and realized he really didn’t know what any of those labels entailed. He didn’t know what “soft” or “mentally weak” specifically meant.
He didn’t know he needed to improve in those areas.
We had a calm, honest, transparent conversation and as we were talking, the light bulbs in his head started turning on.
We talked about his approach to mistakes.
Anytime he missed an easy shot, committed a turnover, or a coach got on him, it affected his play for the next two or three minutes.
I encouraged him to be a NBA guy (Next Best Action) so he could move on quicker and maintain a higher level of play.
The moment was a strong reminder for me.
I had the initial conversation because I was frustrated with his performance — but in reality, it was a lack of effective communication by myself and his other coaches to help him understand what was going on.
Instead of just being frustrated with his output, I had to first analyze myself — am I effectively communicating?
I had to take the time to talk with him to make sure he really understood my expectations and give him tangible ways to get past the mistakes he was making.
Take a moment to ask yourself: Am I effectively communicating the things in my mind with my players and staff?
Be self-aware. Record yourself talking. Improve your communication. Increase your impact.
Communicate like a Master Teacher.