The 7 Cs of Communicating for Coaches

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Caring. Caring is the first point of communicating with your athlete because athletes will more easily and effectively incorporates your coaching if they believe you genuinely care about them.   It has been said that 93% of communication is non-verbal, and while that statistic may or may not be entirely valid, we do know that tone and body language matter a great deal.

Courteous. In addition to modeling good character for our athletes, coaches should always use language that is civil and communicates utmost respect for their athlete.

Consistent. Kids learn through repetition and feel most secure when things remain the same. Like in parenting, consistency in rules and expectations across the coaching team are a must.

Clear. Avoid ambiguity in your corrections. State what you want the athlete to do simply and directly. Avoid sarcasm and, especially with young children who are concrete thinkers, abstract thoughts.

Concise. To help be clear, make sure your communication is not overly wordy.

Concrete. Coaching should give a directive to the athlete. Something the coach wants the athlete to do.

Correct. Of course, it goes without saying but I feel I would be remiss if I didn’t say it, coaching needs to be correct. Identifying the largest error and making the adjustment that will most help the athlete perform the skill better is critical. Telling a kid who is unable to perform a handstand because she is not straightening her arms to point her toes is not getting the job done.