I received this in Creighton Burns’ newsletter. It was written by: Allison McNeil
Here are 10 things a coach can do to empower his or her athletes:
1. Create a safe/inclusive environment where every athlete is valued for what they do on the court, but more importantly for who they are and what they bring to the group. Appreciate each of your athletes for their uniqueness and the special things they bring to your team. Value the differences in your athletes and see the good in every young person you coach.
2. Allow your athletes some decision making power – on the court and off the court. There are “team” decisions and your athletes should be part of that process. On the court, at practice, use questions to engage your athletes and make them part of the decision making in game situations.
“Tell me and I will forget, show me and I may not remember, involve me and I will understand.”
Native American Proverb
3. Do not do everything for them – give them access to information and resources that they can use to help themselves now and when you are not there for them. We need to support our athletes, but we do not need to hover over them and do everything for them.
4. Encourage and reward assertiveness. Don’t shoot down your athlete’s when the show some assertiveness, it is not about controlling them it is about empowering them.
Here is a great definition of assertiveness: Asking for what one wants or acting to get what one wants in a way that respects the rights and feelings of other people.
5. Teach and encourage your athletes to think critically – to ask questions, to see things differently.
6. Teach and encourage your athletes to have a voice – to make a difference in their own lives, their community, and the world. Encourage your athletes to stand up for the things they believe in. One great way to do this is to have your team adopt an elementary school; to help at a homeless shelter; to visit a children’s hospital. You can also have your team adopt an orphanage, run for Breast Cancer, or raise money for a cause they believe in.
7. Develop independent athletes. When you do this you are increasing their self-esteem and therefore helping them to be more resilient and increasing their chances of success in basketball and in the “real world”. Your goal as a coach should be that they DO NOT depend on you!
8. Allow your athletes to express frustration and anger in an appropriate way, not bottle it up and pretend that everything is “fine” if it is not “fine”. Communication is key. Your athletes need to feel that they can express their concerns without retribution.
9. Listen to your athletes. Encourage open and honest communication – this is a skill that will help them for a lifetime of healthy relationships. There is no chance for successful relationships in life if you cannot communicate.
10. Create a safe learning environment for your athletes to take risks and Learn new things. Compliment them when they try something new, they will have more fun and improve more quickly.
The Coaching Toolbox has hundreds of resources for coaching basketball including basketball practice, basketball plays, basketball drills, basketball quotes, basketball workouts, basketball poems, and more!