Below is an article featured in the Coaching Corner of the Joondalup Times a few weeks ago, written by Ron Alexander one of WA's most experienced sports coaches and administrators. He is currently the director general of the Department of Sport and Recreation. Most of our strength at JMA lies in our ability to listen as coaches and provide you with a service that we know you want to receive. As a coach it’s not always about all the medals you can win, as Mr Alexander says, "You need to be someone who has ....common decency and is a good communicator."
Our goal at JMA is to be ever evolving and listening to what our members want so that we can grow as a Club together.
Listening To Athletes Vital For Being Heard -
People in the world these days look for superheroes - and in sport it is "super" coaches and "super" athletes. But you don't need to be a superhero to be a good coach. You need to be someone who has good skills and knowledge, common decency and is a good communicator. And a good communicator is also a good listener.
Listening is particularly important if you're coaching individuals such as a swimmer, tennis player or track and field athlete. So if you're used to coaching teams, what might you change in your coaching style? You don't necessarily have to be a champion in the sport you're coaching, although it can help. BUT you do have to know the rules, your role and responsibilities and you need to be able to demonstrate that. Often a good way to get the confidence of an athlete you're coaching is to tell them something that actually works in a game; and do that early. That way they realise quickly that this person can actually help them.
You've also got to understand who you're coaching - and for how long they can listen. What some coaches forget is they have to listen to the athlete. Once you get them talking, you find out what they want and think they need. And don't forget, they can also give vital feedback on how effective your coaching is. Presumably your charge wants to win and win at a higher level. But that's not always the case.
Sometimes their emphasis - or yours - might be getting them to the next level, or maintaining their interest and focus so that they are competitive next season.
A coach of an individual also has to help in all areas, not just basic skills or basic fitness. It's making them feel comfortable in all circumstances; being able to help them train hard, to relax and to work through the pressure.
It might sound like a tough job, but there's a lot of fun to be had. There's one other thing to remember. Even in coaching a team, you still have to coach individuals as well. With a team you have to develop a team "vibe" and a team plan. But you have to understand the individuals in the team and how the team strategy applies to them and how to help them make a positive contribution.