Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
NarN

Team Sport Mental Aspect

Recommended Posts

I'm a beginning coach (started end September) of a local volleyball team.

I have played for 25+ years myself so I got a good understanding of the technical and tactical components.

But I lack knowledge or 'feeling' when it comes to mental coaching.

I wasn't a leader when I was a player and I'm currently not a strong motivator as a coach.

Yesterday we had a game. The first two sets we lost but the team was working and putting in great effort. The final set it all went downhill very fast. It was terrible. Players where agitated and argued with each other and with the referee. I had to take 2 time-outs to let them cool down.

In a way I felt completely helpless/clueless. I think it's due to my personality (not a great chatter) and my lack of experience.

I realize it takes time to build experience but I want to speed up the process as much as possible. I feel this is the issue I need to work on as a coach.

Can you guys share personal experiences or give pointers to resources where I can educate myself?

Any help much appreciated!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You have to give yourself time to understand what kind of coach you are. It might also help to try and understand your team better, if you don't know who your coaching it's very hard to react correctly when things go wrong.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Had a football coach punch a hole in a chalkboard at halftime and threatened to do the same to us if we didn't win.

It worked.... but don't do that, you'll break your hand and now-a-days probably go to jail! But back then (late '80s) times were different. He ended up being promoted to athletic director. Go figure.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Channel the coaches you've had in the past that you respected. There's no greater challenge for a coach than when the team isn't winning. If the team perceives you don't care then they will start taking on things that should be your job. If the team sees you acting like a maniac during games, they can lose respect. There's a lot that goes into coaching, and it isn't just simple motivation and crowd control.

If you have video footage of the game, review it and analyze it. While the tactics may have been sound, they may have needed something a little different. Or the team might have needed to know "keep it up, but watch this spot... #53 has been hitting there all night". During games, the coach's job is to see how the other team is exploiting or adapting to your strategies--to see what the player's will never be able to see. Most of the time little tweaks are all that is necessary. It's going to take a lot of video and homework to really get good at it. The next step would be to start scouting other teams to know what they like in advance--perhaps get an assistant coach to help with that.

My kid's highschool has no less than 6 coaches for the varsity boys team. Many of the coaches only have active roles during the week's practice, and not on game night. My son is one of those coaches (and a former player). However, there is one coach that goes around scouting our opponents and taking video of their games, and devises strategies. On game night, the head coach (also a former player, from my graduating class) relies on that assistant coach's advice--but the head coach is the one calling the plays and inspiring the players.

I can't think of any successful team that doesn't have at least some assistant coaches. If you are the only coach, it's going to be tough. The player's rely on you to call plays, change strategies, see what they can't, and above all, engage the refs. Sometimes you have to go up to the line of almost being thrown out without crossing it when there is some really bad officiating. Sometimes, you talk to the ref on a questionable play to learn what they saw--and advise the team accordingly. Bottom line, though, interacting with refs is your job, not the player's job. If a player is starting to lose control, sometimes you have to sit them out so you can get their head back out of their butt and in the game. (check out a book called "Verbal Judo: the Art of Persuasion" for non-obvious ways of doing that).

The unfortunate truth is the only way to acquire experience is to have experiences. You can speed up learning from them:

  • Keep your eyes wide open--sometimes little things have a ripple effect
  • Observe and evaluate
  • Try different things until you get something that works for your team

Respect is something that is earned, but invaluable as a tool for motivating your team. There are ways to obtain that respect, but it requires helping your team get better. Chalk it up to a bad night, but look for ways to improve the team's performance--which will in turn improve their morale and increase their respect for you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I talked to a coach with 20 years experience. He told me it's up to the players to dig themselves out of the hole. As a coach you can guide them, replace bad performing players etc but if the team is collectively under performing it's up to them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×