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SDP Blog

The Skill Development Playbook blog has all the information you need to improve as a player or coach.  This blog will give you tips, workouts, and drills to help enhance any players skill set.

Are You Communicating Effectively?

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I was recently speaking with a player I was training about their season. We were discussing how their season was going and the frustrations that come along with it. During our conversation they told me about a recent conversation they had with their coach. This is where things get tricky for me as a skills coach. Never do I want a player, at anytime, to go against what they are being told by their coach. I may not agree with everything their coach has them do or that coach's philosophy, but out of respect for that coach and their team I keep my mouth shut and make the best of the situation.

But this conversation between player and coach had me a little perplexed. I know a player's playing time can be based on a number of factors. This could be based on skill, injuries, size, or a number of other different things. After listening to the player I came to the conclusion there had to be a misunderstanding of what was being communicated. 

The player went to the coach asking what they need to improve on to be able to contribute more to the team. After speaking with their coach the player was confused and wasn't sure if what they heard was actually what the coach meant. 

Here's what we have to remember as coaches. Sometimes what we try to communicate is not always heard by the player which leads to misinterpretation and confusion. When this coach gave the player the solution, I asked them why the change and they couldn't give me an answer. From a skills coach perspective I'm asking so I help with the situation, not to second guess the coach. But when the player can't give a reason then there's a breakdown in communication. 

So here are a few tips to communicate more effectively:

  • Give details: If you're speaking with a player after practice or before practice, be sure to give as much detail as possible. You want players to fully understand the message you are relaying to them.
  • Tell WHY: If you take time to talk with a player make sure they understand WHY you are meeting with them or having a discussion. They should know WHY this is important or WHY this needs to be discussed. 
  • Ask Questions: To make sure you are on the same page and the player understands the details of the conversation as well as WHY, you should ask questions. This lets you know if there is any breakdown in communication. If the player fully understands what is expected or the major details of the conversation they should be able to communicate that information to you.
  • Review: It's never a bad idea to go back over the important details or highlights of the conversation. Reviewing one more time can reiterate what you want the player to understand.

These are just a few tips to help communicate more effectively. Every conversation or situation is different, but remembering these four tips can help with just about any situation. If you have a comment or different ways you like to communicate please drop a comment below.