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The ‘Art of Coaching’ (Part III)

It is highly likely that your players will want to be better. Believing we are getting better at something that matters to us is extremely motivating. Perceived competence – how good we think we are at something – is a key ingredient to feelings of satisfaction and enjoyment.

When it comes time to coach you have 3 main goals:

  1. Empower
  2. Connect
  3. Inspire

These are your foundations, remember them!


1. Empower

Identify your session objective(s) and let your players know what they will be doing. Keep it simple. Setup, show and do any moves and activities so they can see what it looks like. Go through the essentials – body part and direction, safety cues, technique, etc. Then get them active so they can experience what it feels like and can perceive the difference. Allow them time and space to explore and refine their skills through repetition

2. Connect

Get on the court with your players. Observe them. Help them with their individual technique. Help people master the basics then move them to intensify and perfect the skill or activity. Educate them so they can progress. Give feedback to enhance or improve their execution. Motivate them if things get tricky. Challenge those who are cruising. Acknowledge the effort everyone is giving.

3. Inspire

If the going gets tough, use motivation. Let the players know how they are going, what’s coming up and how well they have done so far. The more encouragement you give, the more likely they will want to keep going and improve.

4. Close (the loop)

The end of the session is one of the most important times for you as a coach. Acknowledge how well everyone did – celebrate! Make contact with each player. Recap on what just happened. Give players something to go away thinking about so they keep learning. Don’t forget to let them know when they can come back for more.


  • PRACTICE – you need to feel comfortable and confident delivering what you do.
  • Praise for effort – high fives, pats on the back, etc.
  • Engage with every person on the court. Watch them closely. Give them the information THEY NEED to achieve success.
  • Get involved as well.


If you truly want to inspire people you need to be the best role model you can be – which may require you to get out of your comfort zone when you’re coaching!


  • Technique and safety cues.
  • Information about positioning, equipment and transitions between activities.
  • What to expect.
  • Highly motivational and engaging cues.

So how can we enable people to improve in our sessions?

As a rule of thumb think IDEAS (introduce, demonstrate, explain, activities, summarise). Basically your job as a coach is to set your players up with enough information to get them safely and quickly into the activity so they don’t get bored. Afterwards you are simply motivating and supporting them to achieve success.

Don’t forget to ALWAYS coach the people in front of you. Understanding and responding to their needs is the only way to build their confidence, create a positive mentality and truly unlock their potential.

For more information about coaching click here.

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June 2018

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