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Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

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I was visiting recently with a friend who was the assistant coach on a local high school team the past several years. The head coach had been under great pressure from the parents of the players for many years, but it had intensified the past year.

He told me that no matter the quality of the coach, nobody should go through what the head coach had to endure with the result that, after 9 years, the head coach was taking a leave of abscense for a year. I agreed with him, but, as I thought more, I realized that much of the blame really fell on the coach. He is not a good communicator and manager of people. He is passionate about the sport, studies the game like no other coach, but yet he failed to sell his vision and program to the parents and players.

In a world of instantaneous communication, sound bites, complete transparency and high speed technology, a coach is foolish if he does not use all of the tools available to communicate often with players and parents alike. Had he been more open and had a two- way dialogue with all stakeholders, he may very well not have dug himself into such a deep hole. His best option is a fresh start somewhere else with lessons learned. Not sure that will happen.

This is a common mistake that many coaches make. I believe regular and frequent communication with parents of youth players and high school players is critical. Team updates, rational for certain changes that might occur in line ups and clear cut expectations which are communicated to players are essential. Team meetings, one-on-one meetings when needed, email updates, blogs, team websites, and even snail mail are all arrows in the communications quiver.

In years past the "I am Coach so do as I say" worked.

Not today.

Tell me how, tell me why and tell me again.