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How to Improve Your Coaching Style for Positive Impact

By TrueSport, 10/15/19, 3:45PM CDT


Creating positive impact for your athletes doesn’t mean being a relentlessly perky cheerleader. Rather, it means creating an environment where your athletes feel cared for, excited about their sport, connected to their teammates, and confident in themselves.

Here are five areas to focus on when it comes to improving your coaching.


Lead with love

Regardless of your style of coaching when choosing drills, plays, and practice styles, your athletes should always feel as though you care about them. Students reported more life skill and character development when coaches led with compassion.

“Showing love and caring means acting in the best interests of your athletes, which includes discipline when necessary,” explains Wade Gilbert, PhD, a professor at California State University in Fresno and a Team USA Coaching Consultant. “Great coaches show a lot of love for their athletes — it doesn’t mean being positive all the time, it means being genuine and giving people what they need.”


Be authentic

Children are highly tuned to sensing inauthentic behavior, and don’t respond well to a coach who puts on a show of being relentlessly positive. “Kids have a good radar for inauthenticity. They can tell when a coach isn’t being straight with them. Regardless of whether you’re someone who’s super positive or if you’re more sarcastic, it’s important to be genuine,” says Jenelle Gilbert, PhD, a professor at California State University in Fresno. “As long as you’re showing that you care about your athletes, you’re doing the right thing.”


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About TrueSport

TrueSport® is a grassroots movement born and powered by the experience and values of USADA–the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. The TrueSport® mission is simple and bold: to change the culture of youth sport by providing powerful educational tools to equip young athletes with the resources to build the life skills and core values for lasting success on and off the field.