Coaching Tutorial

I decided to do a tutorial on coaching because it is something that I enjoy and know a little bit about. There are all different kinds of ways to coach and many of us believe that our way is the right way but I would like you to keep an open mind while reading this. One thing that we often forget when dealing with athletes is the simple fact that they are not just athletes, but people as well.


The objectives of this lesson are to improve coaching and offer a better learning invironment for our athletes.

Basic Principles of Coaching

Understanding The Athletes Needs

Athletes have some physical and emotional needs that all coaches should be aware of. They need to be accepted and belong. They need to know that we care and value them as an individual. As coaches we should encourage success as much as possible and find a way to help them accomplish something. Compliment them! Let them know what they are doing right. To often we as coaches point out to players each and every mistake they make.

Effective Communication

Being able to communicate effectively with our athletes is very important. Our athletes should feel like they can come and talk to us and tell us how they are feeling about anything. Part of being a coach is being a role model and setting a positive example. Coaches who communicate well with their players usually have less disciplinary problems and more respect. All coaches should make an effort to "get to know" their players. When I say that, I mean not just them as player, but also also as a person away from the game. A team is like a family and the more close nit your team is then the better they will perform. Your players will also feel more comfortable and be more willing to come to you for advice or to share their thoughts and feelings.

Establish Responsible Behavior and Discipline

There are many different ways to teach young athletes responsibilty and discipline. All successful coaches have a firm set of rules or code of conduct that their players are aware and should follow. Some of the basic rules that almost all coachs use to teach responsibilty are being on time, managing their equipment, and being held accountable for one's actions. As we all know there are situations that occur where players must be disciplined. Dealing with conflict is probably the hardest thing to do as a coach but one of the most important. As coaches we should realize that each situation is different. Make sure that we sit down with that player and/or his/her parents and find out what the underlying problem is. Often times we are too quick to judge or our afraid to admit that we may have made a mistake. Really listen and then make a decision that is not only best for that individual player, but the rest of the team as well. Other ways that coaches help teach discipline is by encouraging them to work hard and do what is right.


Observation and Improvement

Other Coaches in action

Observing other coaches is a very effective way to improve ourselves. We can learn a lot of things. Ask yourself questions like, What does his team do well?, What could they do differently or better? How would I coach this team? These are all very good questions and something we should be aware of.


If possible, another great way to learn is by watching yourself coach. Video cameras have allowed us an excellent opportunity to watch ourselves in action and ask those same questions. What did we do well? What could we do to improve? What do we need to work on? What can I do as a coach to make my team more successful?


This tutorial is designed to point out some key fundamentals of coaching and hopefully help us all improve. I feel we can learn a great deal from one another and our players as well. Becoming and active listener, communicating effectively, and teaching values will make our teams more successful. I have yet to find another job that has been more rewarding than being a coach.

Latest update to this document: 27 November 2001

Erick Gafner: