Field Hockey Coach-Player Relationships
The growth of an athlete is contingent on many things. The most important of these is their own effort and drive to succeed. However, a young athlete will need a dedicated support team and devoted coaches to ensure that their effort goes in the right direction and that their growth is as efficient as possible. The dynamic of the coach and the player is defined by their working and personal relationship. If there is a poor dynamic, both the coach and player suffer, as the player will be unable to sufficiently grow under their tutelage, and the coach themselves will not be able to grow as a mentor and molder of athletes. As such, a mutually beneficial partnership between coach and player is of utmost importance. The following are a list of aspects that can embody such a positive relationship between coach and player.
#1: Openness Between Player and Coach
A healthy relationship requires integrity. There are no need for secrets between a player and coach. Keeping information from your coach will compromise the effectiveness of a training regime if your coach does not have all the information they need from you. If you are prone to chronic injury, or suffer from something such as weak knee joints, your coach needs to know so they can tailor your training accordingly.
Although a coach may sometimes be intimidating when they are barking orders or pushing you past your physical limits, they are not evil figures and only want to see you grow to be the best athlete you can be. You can help them do that through complete and total honesty. Tell them anything they need to know regarding your physical condition and if any exercise is affecting you adversely. They’re there to help.
#2: A Coach Needs To Treat Every Player Equally
While some athletes may be more “star” material than others, a coach needs to recognize that a team is a team. Each and every player deserves a coach’s undivided attention and should be treated as equal cogs of a fine-tuned machine. A coach must ensure that every drill is fair and works out every player equally. While it may be tempting to try and uplift a truly physically talented player, that player won’t be able to do much without a well-trained team around them that they can rely on.
On the other hand, a coach can’t go lightly on a player that does not try as hard as the others. These players are just as important as the more driven athletes and need to be taught that their position on the team is just as important as all the others. A team must be an efficiently-functioning machine to perform well on the field, and this means that every part must be working to utmost efficiency. This means personally working with players who are struggling or not putting as much effort into the game as they should, and treating every player with the same amount of respect and care.
#3: A Coach Must Have an Eye for Perfection, But Not be a Perfectionist
Being a coach means having an eye for what can be improved about a team or player. However, a coach should keep in mind that they are at a sports summer camp. A coach should constantly strive to improve the athletes they’re training without pushing them beyond what is reasonable. You want your athletes to feel that they’re improving and know that they’re making progress, but you don’t want to make your athlete feel as if they’ll never be good enough, no matter how much effort they’re putting in.
This means knowing the right time for positive reinforcement and the right time to push athletes harder. A simple “good” after a satisfactory performance of a drill can do wonders for an athlete’s mental state. You can combine simple positive reinforcement with this with progressively harder drills, both to push the athletes out of feelings of complacency, and to reward them with acknowledgement of a good performance when they get it right.
#4: A Player Must Respect and Trust Their Coach
There are times an athlete may get annoyed with their coach. It would be difficult for anyone to keep patience when their muscles are screaming for a break after repeated drills and the summer sun is scorching hot, but the coach keeps barking orders to do more drills and work even harder.
While an athlete may be tempted to lash out at the coach, as they’re not the ones being forced to exercise, this is an unwise thing to do. While the coaches may sometimes have to push an athlete beyond what they feel they’re physically capable of, they’ve done this before and have an athlete’s best interests at heart. Coaches that work at sports summer camps have worked with many young athletes and are never actually trying to hurt or spite them. It’s just that that sometimes they may seem rough in order to push an athlete to be the best athlete they can be.
#5: It’s a Sports Summer Camp – A Coach Must be Communicative With Athletes and Parents
Coaches of professional teams can often trust their athletes to have experience and know-how of the basics of their sport and positions. A coach for a summer sports camp may have no such luxury, and their athletes may be as green as they come. Therefore, a coach must be completely open to any questions from athletes and parents and answer them to the best of their ability.
While a coach can and should have high expectations for their athletes, they must never expect them to automatically know even the basics of any sport. A coach is there to guide an athlete to greatness using the athlete’s own effort, and as such should be prepared to help even a pure rookie every step of the way.
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