1w6k1b99tnjW5qLK9QKgJCiG0NE The SportExcel Zone: #1 Rule for Coaches

Monday, February 2, 2009

#1 Rule for Coaches

I was at a hockey game the other day and once again my #1 Rule for Coaches held true.
"When the coach stays in the Zone, the athletes will."
The young hockey players were playing their hearts out in a somewhat pathetic show of miss-steps, while behind the bench the coaches were slouching and showing signs of fatigue (and they weren't even the ones playing).

Something called mirroring is at play here. With any great leader you can FEEL their presence, their charisma, their incredible energy. We FEEL it and unconsciously mirror it back at them. Athletes mirror their coach. Employees mirror their boss. Audiences mirror the singer or performer.

Now this is a huge responsibility for you if you coach. Stop blaming your players. At no time should a spectator be able to tell the score by your demeanor, except to think that you are winning. At all times you need to display the sense of presence, charisma and energy of a great motivator and leader. I have gotten more coaches to be winning coaches by helping them with this simple rule.

In the hockey game, the players were playing with such little energy that the fans could feel nothing. There was no spark, no reason to cheer. Half the seats were empty. But think of it: every time a player sat on the bench between shits, he was influenced by a coach who was fatigued and defeated. It is only natural for them to mirror, especially since they don't even know it's happening.

Of course, like so many things in coaching, it's so easy to fix. For one thing, you can always act like you are winning and your athletes WILL feel the difference. And second, if that sounds too easy to be true, it probably is if you don't have some strategies to support it. I'll be giving you some of these strategies in upcoming blogs. Stay tuned or contact me.

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