5 Common Sports Coaching Mistakes

There is not a lot that is more rewarding than coaching a player to beyond what they thought they could do. In fact, I used to love playing, until I discovered coaching… 

Throughout many years of playing different sports I have had a lot of coaches, all with different styles. Yes there are different approaches of coaching that work but throughout my experience as both a player and coach I believe that there are common principles of coaching that work which I see time and time again. I see this among some of the best and most successful coaches.

Having had the privilege to coach and be coached by many different coaches from beginner level up to and including some top international level coaches, I decided to put together a list of just a few of the mistakes that I have found a lot of coaches tend to make. This is 5 of the 10 mistakes which I include in the coaching program.

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5 Common Coaching Mistakes:

1. Talking too much

A lot of players often get information overload from coaches, I’ve seen this A LOT with many coaches that I’ve had. People lose focus quickly so be clear and to the point. You don’t have to say a lot to get your players to do what you want.

2. Trying to be liked

As a coach, your job is not to be liked by everyone but rather be loved for helping the team to reach their goals. Often coaches can see issues within a team or with an individual but many don’t do anything about it – they don’t do or say what needs to be said. Players can see through this and lose respect for coaches who don’t stand up and do what needs to be done for the good of the team.

3. Not asking for feedback

Don’t neglect to ask questions or get feedback from others, whether that is from the players, parents, spectators or other coaches. You don’t have to necessarily follow everyone’s advice, if you don’t agree with them, but getting different perspectives is a great way of gaining clarity and finding possible solutions.

4. Not sticking to promises

I’ve personally had many coaches who are very keen at the beginning of the season and promise to do player reviews or other things that sound great but then a few weeks into the season and nothing has happened. If you say something then you MUST make sure you follow through on it. For example if you say that players must do running/fitness as punishment then make sure you stick to your word. Pay attention to detail and don’t be too soft or unfocussed to follow through.

5. Don’t set team expectations

Has your team set any rules or expectations for the season? For example: If someone can’t make a training session, are there any actions or consequences that need to happen (i.e. that player won’t start the next game or they need to send a text to the team explaining why they can’t make the session)? Set clear expectations to avoid mis-communication or any unnecessary issues.

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About The Author

Lauren Penny

An ex-International Hockey Player, Performance Coach, Mentor & Motivational Speaker. Passionate about helping sports athletes and coaches improve performance, build confidence and unleash the hidden potential that we all have within us. Lauren prepares people for success.