Definition of Personal Coaching
Personal coaching begins with maybe the greatest coach of them all, John Wooden, who said that the best way to show favoritism is to treat every player the same. Coach Wooden, who made personal coaching an art, went on to explain that players earn the treatment they get. Players, who show the respect that coaches deserve, earn more of a coach’s time and effort than players who do not show respect. Having coached kids for many years now, I so appreciate what Coach Wooden said.
Let’s face it, personal coaching can be difficult with some youth because they have unteachable attitudes. Some athletes act as if they know it all or are at least appear unreceptive to what coaches have to offer, for whatever reason. This is very annoying, especially for a coach who has great experience teaching sport. There have been many times that I have left baseball camps, classes or lessons and felt bad because I have not reached a player or players. Players like these challenge even the best coaches’ patience and understanding.
Of course, I never ridicule players because I believe in a positive coaching philosophy, but I feel it is my fault that I did not communicate with these players in a meaningful way. I have come to understand what coach Wooden meant and that it is human nature to treat each player a little different, based on his or her willingness to be coached. Good coaches practice personal coaching, but every athlete is different and not every athlete is reachable, unfortunately. The good news is that many of the uncoachable students’ attitudes change over time, when they see your personal coaching methods. Of course, reaching these athletes may take a great deal of time but it is very satisfying when kids, who seemingly were uninterested in learning, begin to listen and try your coaching suggestions.
Personal Coaching Methods that Make a Difference
- Never give up on a player, even those with bad attitudes. Many great athletes began their careers as unteachable players, only to someday change their attitudes. Talking one on one, about anything unrelated to the sport, as if they are just a friend, can help kids feel good, too.
- Be very observant of kids’ life situations and take the time to get to know players, their relationship with their parents, their goals, and interests. All athletes have different personalities. By showing interest in them and getting to know them can help reach them sooner or later.
- Gain the trust of players by devoting a little extra time and energy to helping them. Eventually, even bad attitude players respect you for this.
- Praise players when they do something well and/or for the first time. All kids need and like encouragement whether they seem to like it or not. Continuing to recognize players’ efforts, whether kids listen or not, pays off in the end or at least gives coaches satisfying feelings.
- Praise players in front of their parents, also. All kids feel good when they feel like mom and dad are happy about their achievements and work ethic. Many bad attitude players have strained relationships with parents, so this may help ease that situation, too.
All of these personal coaching methods help to gain seemingly unreachable players trust or at least some measure of respect. It is not easy to keep trying to reach players who do not appear to want help but good coaches never stop trying.