C-O-A-C-H. Care. Observe. Act. Communicate. Help.
Show each and every athlete that you work with that you genuinely care about their individual development as both an athlete and as a person. Push them everyday to get better and show them through your actions that you are committed to them. Everyone has heard the quote over and over again, but it rings true; People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
Close observation of each individual athlete allows you to pinpoint both their strengths and their weaknesses. Observe every day to figure out what it is that each athlete needs to do in order to take their game to the next level.
Once you have figured out what it is that each athlete needs, act on what you see. Give feedback immediately and effectively. Your mother didn’t wait a day to tell you that you did something wrong or that something needed improvement, and neither should a coach. A true leader/coach doesn’t wait until the next time you see them or when you think the moment might be right, a true leader/coach acts on it immediately. Keep in mind that leaders who demand excellence have to role model excellence or they will lose their credibility. Demand the same excellence from yourself.
The best teachers are the best communicators. The best coaches are simply teachers. Communicate constantly about what is great and what needs improvement. Don’t just bark order, communicate and teach athletes. Explain to athletes why certain exercises are important and why they perform them that will allow for great buy-in from the athletes. Give athletes a purpose, not an exercise. If you earn the reputation of a great teacher people will line up to work with you, for you, and under you. Additionally, take your role as a teacher seriously, but not yourself seriously.
Always use your position of leadership to help others achieve their goals. Show athletes how to perform exercises properly with perfect form. Be crystal clear about your expectations on their performance and attitude, and how these things will carry over and help them in their sport.