Here are some tips for coaches that are just starting their journey.
Find a mentor
Having someone you can go to for advice and to reflect on coaching with is a great way to develop your skills. If you can find someone with plenty of experience who is willing to take you under their wing, then great. If you can’t find an experienced coach then communicate with another new coach. Sharing your experiences as you go through your separate journeys will enrich both of your developments.
“Mentoring is a brain to pick, an ear to listen, and a push in the right direction.” – John C. Crosby
Coach as much as possible
Like with most things, if you don’t get out there and have a go you are never going to improve. Coach as much as you can to learn how to communicate and build relationships with players. You can learn the ‘what’ and the ‘why’, but until you get out there and coach you won’t know the ‘how’.
“Unless you do something beyond what you’ve already mastered, you will never grow.” – Ronald E. Osborne
Read a lot
Read blogs, books, journal articles and watch videos. Whether your keeping up to date with the latest coaching science theory or learning from other coaches online reflections, you can gain a lot through acquiring knowledge. It is important to read with a critical mind. Not everything is going to be relevant or useful on a practical level. So when you are reading think; how does this apply to me?; Does what they are saying make sense?
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” – Dr Seuss
Coach outside your comfort zone
Coach in environments that are challenging. For me when I first started coaching, schools were the most challenging. Often you have limited resources, time and are working with a rowdy bunch of players ready to blow off steam after sitting in classrooms all day. Being able to work in these conditions improved my coaching when I went back to coaching in the club. Right now I am working on how to build an effective learning environment in a 1-to-1 setting. You may be comfortable coaching beginners in a school. If so find somewhere with a higher standard of player and ask the coach if you can assist. Getting outside of your comfort zone is a must if you want to improve.
“There is no learning without some difficulty and fumbling. If you want to keep on learning, you must keep on risking failure all your life.” – John W. Gardner
Never stop learning
Whether it’s signing up for a coaching course or any of the above tips it’s important not to rest on your laurels. If you want to be a great coach you have to constantly be trying to improve. Find a new way of doing things, communicate better, create a better learning environment. There are always things coaches can improve on. You just have to…
Never. Stop. Learning.