This week we feature Dave O’Neill, Head Coach for the top ranked California Women’s Crew Team. Dave shares his best team culture building tips in 7 minutes or less! This is MUST see advice that you don’t want to miss!
Effective coaching is not so much what you say but what you ask. Asking your players powerful questions is much more productive than telling them what to do. True coaching is about developing a strong relationship with your players for the purpose of THEIR growth and development. It’s about helping your players fulfill their goals and commitments. Applying effective communication skills in coaching helps you to develop a strong relationship with your players.
One of a crucial coaching skill is having open coaching conversations with your athletes. Coaching conversations are side-by-side interactions where both of you are looking at where the athlete is headed and discussing what is the next step they need to take to get them there. Your job is to conduct dialogues of inquiry with your players where ultimately they discover the next action to take.
As a coach, you set the context for these dialogues. Setting the stage for effective coaching conversations begins during the recruiting phase and is reinforced every time you address your team. Your players need to know clearly who you are and what you are trying to accomplish in your program. Players need to know from the outset of their relationship with you that their goals and dreams are in alignment with yours. Effective coaching dialogs help to facilitate strong team communication and it creates an open atmosphere in the team.
Once a “good fit” is established, then the dialogues of inquiry can take place. To coach anyone effectively, you need to know what they are committed to in their life. Once you know what they are up to, it’s time to ask questions that will reveal the proper path to getting them where they want to go!
Harbaugh honed his resiliency during his tenure as an NFL Pro Bowl quarterback – a time when he studied with Dr. Jim Loehr.
“As an NFL quarterback, my job was to perform under pressure. During the heat of battle in a big game, I often only had seconds to make critical decisions — and those decisions could win or lose games. Loehr’s training system helped me mentally and emotionally to make more game-winning decisions than ever.”
Loehr defines emotional resiliency as “the ability to take a punch emotionally and bounce back quickly, to recover quickly from disappointments, mistakes, and missed opportunities and jump back into battle fully ready to resume the fight.”
Now as a Head Coach, Harbaugh has instilled a winning attitude and resilient culture in which players expect to win week in and week out. Here’s what Harbaugh had to say after the Cardinal bounced back from two road defeats to beat ASU and rock 7th ranked Oregon:
“Our guys don’t quit. They never give up. You cannot kill them. You can’t demoralize them; they won’t go away. Now we have to be relentless. We must be the hunter. Eventually, we want to kill you. We need to make that next step to get up there with teams like USC.”
Training Tip: Balance the ups and the downs. Bad losses, slumps and sassed opportunities are all potential sources of stress. Help your team handle the stress by encouraging them to keep fun in their lives. Remind them to go to the movies, hang out with friends, shop, etc. This means you too, coach! Planning for the emotional ups is a critical step to coping with the inevitable “emotional downs” of competitive sports!
I recently had dinner with Brent Rushall, one of my former professors from San Diego State (Master’s program). The man is a wealth of coaching science knowledge (check out his site, http://coachsci.sdsu.edu/ if you ever need researched based answers to coaching questions).
One of the stories he told me is unfolding right now in professional baseball. It seems that a consultant to the Philadelphia Philles convinced the team to practice “peer coaching” where players coach each other. The inside scoop reveals that the players love it! They arrive early to practice, stay late, take extra reps and report increased enjoyment. Sounds like a coach’s dream!
Research from the classroom has documented the benefits of peers helping peers, meaning teachers helping teachers and students helping students. Thus far I’ve found only a few references to peer coaching in sport. Here’s an overview of the concept:
“Peer coaching uses a support community (“cohorts”) with feedback procedures to improve or change classroom procedures. Specific outcomes of peer coaching are increased practice, increased skill development, appropriate use of new strategies and longer-term retention of skills. Knowing whom to approach, what to ask them for help with and being sensitive to individuals’ needs goes a long way in building a strong culture. Students need to have others to share successes with and to support each other in taking risks.” Source: Teaching sport concepts and skills: a tactical games approach By Stephen A. Mitchell, Judith L. Oslin, Linda L. Griffin
Stay Tooned! I plan to find out more about this intriguing, World Series worthy coaching model!