No matter how talented a sportsman or sportswoman is, they won’t be able to reach their full potential without the help and support of a sports coach. Sports training can be rewarding and exciting, but if you want to succeed at it, you’ll need a range of personal qualities, as well as the relevant coaching qualifications.
Here’s our guide to the attributes you’ll require if you want to become the perfect trainer.
Passion, Knowledge and Communication Skills
Whether you’re a local club coach or the trainer for a national team, you’ll need to know your chosen sport inside out. You’ll require a thorough knowledge of the rules and regulations governing the sport, of course, but to really excel, you’ll need to study every aspect of it in detail – and that means you’ll have to be passionate about it too.
Outstanding sports coaches keep up to date with the latest training techniques, study opponents’ previous performances, and have an exceptionally good understanding of tactics. They are capable of making confident decisions before and during competitions, and they understand the importance of sports psychology and injury prevention techniques. They also usually possess excellent communication skills, enabling them to disseminate information effectively throughout their team or club.
Flexibility and Dependability
To succeed as a coach, you’ll need to turn your passion for sport into dedication to training your athletes or players, so you can transform them into winners. Firstly, you’ll need to be reliable: you can’t expect complete commitment from your team or individual sports practitioners if you don’t put the hours in yourself. You’ll need to turn up to everything from training sessions and competitions to club meetings and awards ceremonies.
You’ll also need to be flexible. You may need to put in extra hours in the run-up to competitions, or be prepared to travel more as your team or players become more successful and qualify to compete in regional, national or even international tournaments and events.
Having a flexible attitude is also important when dealing with your players. The athletes within your team or club will require different levels of support and will respond to training techniques in different ways. Therefore, you’ll need to be capable of adjusting the way you deal with certain players to get the best out of them. You’ll also need to be open to new training ideas and techniques, and be able to adapt quickly to changes in the sport’s rules and regulations or to circumstances that arise on competition day.
Leadership and Motivational Skills
Good sports coaches usually boast exceptional leadership skills. They tend to be both task and person-oriented, so they’re capable of balancing the needs of the individual players or athletes with the needs of the club or team. They are also capable of forming good working relationships with every member of their club or team, and inspiring each of them to reach his or her maximum potential.
When sports coaching, you’ll also need to find innovative ways by which to motivate each member of your team. Whether it’s through the use of traditional team-building techniques, encouraging healthy competition between club members, setting team members their own individual targets to aspire to, or awarding trophies and medals to high achievers, a great trainer knows exactly how to inspire every player or athlete to reach his or her goals.
The Ability to Establish Team Unity and Discipline
A united team is far more likely to be a successful one, but ensuring that your players are working well and focused on the same goals can be tricky, particularly if they have been having a poor run of form. Leading coaches usually have a talent for helping players to overcome any issues they are having with each other and are capable of bringing them together again.
Finally, you’ll need to ensure that your team is well-disciplined. Establishing discipline sometimes requires being tough to ensure that players don’t step out of line, so you may not always be liked by every team member – at least, not until they’ve won up their next piece of silverware.
Are you a sports coach? What qualities do you think give a coach the edge? Do you have any sports training tips or techniques to share? Let us know in the comments box, on Facebook or on Twitter.
The Blueprint for the Perfect Sports Coach – What Qualities Do You Need?
We've given some thought to what it takes to be the perfect sports coach. Read on to see what skills we think you need.