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December 2020 in review: communication in coaching

The site theme in December was communication in coaching. Throughout the month we put together 5 new articles, 2 new videos, and a new podcast from 8 contributors with ideas on how to improve communication with athletes. You’ll find all the links below, as well as highlights from our archive on the topic.
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Lessons in communication from Wade Gilbert

Wade Gilbert is the coach of coaches. He has dedicated his career to studying coaching and his book Getting Better Every Season is a must read for coaches of all levels. This month on HMMR Media we are looking at communication in coaching, so it is only appropriate that we end with a few insights from Gilbert.

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Moving from conversation to communication

If you are like me, you spend more time each day with your athlete than your spouse. As they say, good communication is the bedrock of any successful marriage. Why is it then that in coaching, where we spend even more time with our athletes, communication is always an afterthought? We prioritize biomechanics and physiology and even psychology before we begin to focus on communication. Most coaching courses do not even spend one minute on the topic.

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4 ways to rethink how you give feedback

Communication is critical to coaching. You might be the smartest coach in the world, but if you can’t convey your message to the athlete, you aren’t going to get very far.

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Coaching across the spectrum of styles

??There are many different styles of coaching. A coach might be direct, quiet, or use guided discovery. Coaches might be stronger with some styles than others and they may revert to that style by default. Athletes might learn better with a one style or another. And some tasks also demand a certain style: explaining where the fire exits are using a free exploration style before you start coaching a new group will simply waste time. A direct style is best suited for this. Where the style of the coach, athlete, and task line up match, good things can happen. Where they don’t, conflict or disappointment may result.

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GAINcast Episode 191: Teaching better (with Doug Lemov)

When it comes down to it, coaching really is just teaching in a different setting. Educational consultant Doug Lemov has helped the teaching profession rethink how it can best educate students. Now he is turning his attention to coaches to see how coaches can improve their teaching abilities. He joins this week’s GAINcast to discuss key principles of good teaching that can help us improve our effectiveness as coaches. Read more

Social coaching while social distancing

In times such as this, many things can come to mind that will comfort us in the unknown. Ecclesiastes 3:1 says, “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” Regardless of your beliefs or opinions, this text goes on to explain the ebbs and flows of life and how little control we have over the events in our lives. Read more

Feedback should be reflective, not reflexive

The best feedback for coaches often comes from the people doing the training themselves: the athletes. Nobody knows better how training went than the people who did it. Being able to identify and articulate that feedback is a skill that must be honed and developed like anything else. Read more

Coaching is teaching

Ultimately a coach is a teacher. Teaching is communicating and communication is the key to effective coaching. Read more

What can coaches learn from medicine

Bill Shankly, perhaps Liverpool’s most famous manager, once famously said “Some people believe football is a matter of life and death. I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that.” This comment was made partly tongue in cheek, and, although we often take sport seriously, we’re very lucky that athletes tend to be very healthy, and we probably never have to make life or death decisions. The medical profession isn’t so lucky and coaches can often learn from how doctors approach decision making under that kind of pressure. Read more