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Building A Coaching Synergy with Players

A coaching synergy is something that is more talked about at higher levels of sport. Why? Because coaches and players can better express what they are experiencing or not experiencing. Unfortunately, children cannot always verbalize what they are feeling or experiencing. This does not, however, mean synergy cannot or should not exist at lower levels of sport. Regardless of the what level of sport, the definition of a good coach is one who knows the importance of building a coaching synergy with players. Where it is least often found is at the youth level. Most coaches are more focused on just trying to control young players rather than lead them. When you do find synergy at the youth level, you will know because it is a thing of beauty as you watch kids thoroughly enjoying the coaching process as they are experiencing youth sports. Building A Coaching Synergy If it was easy to build coaching synergy everyone would do it. As a coach it does require making some personal sacrifice that can mean stepping outside of your comfort zones. Most coaches are just not that invested in the process and don't care enough to want to build a synergy with players. They do the same things over and over, expecting different results. I assume if you are reading this, you are open to the idea but before you can get totally committed, I am sure you are likely curious to know the WIIFM, what's in it for me? Something my research of top coaches, champion athletes, and parents of champion athletes has helped me understand is the value of building a more "coachable" player.

Open, inquisitive,teachable, engaged

If only every player was naturally "coachable" our jobs as coaches would be infinitely easier. However, they are not and we can't will them to be "coachable" regardless of how overbearing and demanding our coaching-styles become. At the risk of sounding zen-like, it takes building a coaching synergy or a deeper awareness of your coaching style and your players' potential to begin discovering the "coachable" player within. As you read this, you hopefully got that it doesn't happen independent of you. Top coaches often profess the value of synergy to groups of their coaching peers but unfortunately it is with coaches where the coaching synergy idea dies. Until you determine it is necessary to put aside your coaching agendas to win and replace it with the idea of building a synergy with players, you are no different than the vast majority of coaches. Top coaches win, not because they have a secret formula, but because they know how to build "coachable" players and build a coaching synergy with them.

Coaching synergy

The rapport and working flow a coach builds with players to make the coaching process less a process and more a continuum of learning and development (i.e. more enjoyable).

Many coaches are unwilling to build a synergy because they won't step outside of their comfort zones. Unfortunately, it is hard to build synergy without doing so. As a coach, once you stop being so concerned with gaining the respect from parents and peer coaches and start focusing on earning the respect of players, coaching just becomes exponentially easier. Parents respect your way of working with the kids, and peer coaches start taking mental notes. ROCK 'N ROLL 'em As I teach our Jelly Bean instructors, some of the best at building synergy with beginner athletes, I tell them, "If you want to build a synergy with the kids, you have to ROCK 'N ROLL 'em!" What this means in a nutshell is anybody can coach or provide the ROCK of sports instruction. Some, obviously, do it better than others. The basic idea is that kids are being taught sports, something that has been done for generations. It is only when you add the ROLL or that certain style you, as a coach, can call your own, that you and the kids can get excited together about the process. When it is done so much so that they don't even know it is a process, this is when you have earned their respect, the respect of parents, and the respect of peer coaches. This is when you know you have created coaching synergy. When you reach this point, you will feel empowered because you will know you are making a difference on the lives of the athletes you work with. ROCK 'N ROLL 'em coach! Brad Kayden Coach Pickles Chief Fun Officer, Jelly Bean Sports, Inc.