Blogs and Commentary

posted 07.19.2013 at 12.20 p.m. by TJ Buchanan

Coach's Corner: Credible Coaches are
Confidence Builders

Every month US Lacrosse sends out monthly newsletters to parents, program administrators, officials and coaches. And every month I add a Positive Coaching Alliance and Coaching Tip for all the coaches out there.

Here is where I'll keep the extended version of those tips as well as other topics that come about related to coaching.

Feel free to share this resource with all of your coaching colleagues and suggest in the comment box below with other topics for me to cover.

PCA – Lessons from Losing

It’s important to teach players how to both win and lose gracefully, because they almost certainly will have both experiences. People can often learn a lot more from losing than from winning.

For example, it sometimes takes a loss to awaken players to flaws in their game or the team as a whole that they otherwise could have overlooked. Losing can also help renew their commitment to mastering their sport.

It can help players recognize any lapse in intensity of their practice, conditioning or mental focus. And, if your team uses the loss as a springboard for correcting a lapse, you will return to competition stronger than you were before.

Coaching Tip – Credible Coaches are Confidence-Builders

(Excerpt from The Seven Secrets of Successful Coaches by Jeff Janssen and Greg Dale)

“You have to create an environment where everybody feels good about themselves and what they can do.”
-Marty Schottenheimer

For your athlete to really buy into a positive coaching environment, a coach must strive to build the confidence of their athletes. Confidence is essential to athletes playing at a high level. The confidence you show in them, directly impacts the confidence they will have in themselves. With their ever-increasing exposure to feedback from peers via social media, athletes feel they are under scrutiny more so than ever before and it’s the coach’s duty to protect the psyche of their athletes.

Confidence is Fragile: Handle with Care

Athletes are entering sports with increasingly less confidence from year to year according to Coach Pat Summit, former Tennessee Lady Vols women's basketball head coach and all-time winningest coach in the NCAA basketball history. Sport involves a great amount of failure, whether it’s via wins and losses or learning a new skill. As such, confidence levels in athletes will fluctuate over the course of a season. Be cognizant of your athletes’ confidence levels and make sure to build them up at the right times to keep them performing at a high level. Likewise, you must know when they are getting too high on themselves and be able to taper the building so they do not develop a false sense of confidence and stop working hard.

Seven Steps to Building Confidence
1.    Focus on potential
2.    Plant seeds of success
3.    Sell athletes on themselves
4.    Inspire them to work hard
5.    Show them a simple and specific plan
6.    Set them up for success
7.    Accentuate the positive

Building confidence is crucial to the success of teams. A team with high confidence levels is capable of pushing the boundaries of their performance and taking risks that often lead to great plays. When they feel confident in themselves and each other, the team comes together as one and will shock you with their performance.