May 17, 2021 • Athletic AdministrationCoaching

7 Tips to Refine Your Communication Skills

Skilled coaches are always looking for ways to improve themselves. This can be done in many ways, including developing better communication skills.

Here are seven ways that coaches can use communication in developing team success.

  1. Establish A Respectful Atmosphere 
Photo: Wesley Sykes / Great American Media Services

Emphasize constructive criticism and teach players how to use it. Point out that respect is a foundation of teamwork and, as a coach, always model respect in your communication with players.

  1. Use Positive Communication

Speak of potential, positive goals, and possibilities. Catch your athletes doing something right and point it out to the team. Seek to build character. 

  1. Practice Communication Skills

Provide athletes with timely information and look for teachable moments. Don’t forget to tell athletes why they are practicing a particular skill, and avoid words that attack an athlete’s self-worth.

  1. Non-Verbal Communications

Use tone and volume of voice to add importance to what you say. Maintaining eye contact when speaking increases understanding and personalizes the message. A touch, handshake, or high five brings feeling to what you say to players.

  1. Listening Skills

Check with players for understanding of discussions. Encourage questions, suggestions, and opinions from players. Never hesitate to consider what you can learn from your players.

  1. Use Effective Verbal Cues 

Cues should be simple yet meaningful. Players should connect the verbal cue to a change in position, movement, or strategy, but make sure to limit the number of verbal cues you use.

  1. Give Specific Praise and Remediation 

Specific comments are more powerful and meaningful. This includes evaluations, which are necessary for a player and team improvement.

» ALSO SEE: 10 Observations of a Successful Coach

When coaches improve their communication skills, they become better teachers and leaders. Coaches will find that better communication requires conscious effort and practice. This produces positive results with regard to teamwork, player improvement, and team attitude.