Tips for Building Confidence

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To be a leader, you must earn the respect and confidence of your team.

(Photo by pedrosimoes7)

This is a continuation of the Credibility in Coaching post, based on the same lecture and influences.

  1. Don’t make stupid mistakes on purpose!
    – If it’s about you and not the team, you are making a giant mistake!
    – Don’t undermine the team’s trust! If you tell the team, “If you work hard, we’ll be out by five,” and the team is still working hard at 5:30, why should they trust you again?
  2. Don’t make criticism personal.
    Never say, “Are you an idiot?” Talk about criticism in a positive way, explain that it’s there for the team’s improvement. Make sure your players know you’re trying to help them. At least once a week, remind the team that it’s about the we effort.
  3. Avoid sarcasm, belittling, and embarrassment.
    Making fun of players, yelling at players in front of the team, the other team, or spectators is extremely belittling and embarrassing.
  4. Don’t use profanity – not even for attention.
  5. Evaluate yourself.
    After every session, practice, or class evaluate how you did. What worked and what didn’t? Did you accomplish your goals?
    At the end of every week, take time to review the whole week as well. Are you on plan? What have you discovered? What do you need to work on?
    Ask people you trust. Your other coaches can provide valuable, honest feedback. If you ask your athletes, give them with anonymity (ie. suggestion box, survey). You can’t expect them to criticize you openly when you’re in charge.
  6. Focus on the solution.
    How are we going to get there? We all know complainers and we know how we feel about them. Don’t be one! We want to know how to fix the problem. Choose a practical, realistic approach and do it!
  7. How effective am I in getting coaches to lead?
    Your effectiveness is your credibility. If you back your team 100% they should back you 100%. If they don’t, you have a problem. If you have a credibility problem, you have a lost team. Don’t put your players in that position.
  8. Be a transformer.
    You set the environment. The greatest thing about being a coach is you have the power to shape the lives and characters of your personnel and players.
  9. Do you create fear or develop confidence?
    – Have you ever had a coach you feared? Did he do a good job? (Prob. not)
    – Do you inspire loyalty and allegiance or create antagonistic behavior?
    – Never say, “We have to man up.” Only idiots who lose focus say things like this. Be honest, say, “We need to work ___.” Noone on your team “has no heart” and everyone “wants to give their best try.”
  10. Credibility
    – Don’t lie. Don’t turn away. Address the issue. You don’t have to seek out a confrontation, but be honest and stand up for what’s right.
    – Stay human. Stay consistent. Understand integrity. People have to believe in you. Back up who you are. If you don’t have integrity, you are not a leader, you are not a coach, and you cannot teach effectively. Sell who you are. Prove what you say. Build trust. Earn trust.
  11. Cohesive Leadership
    We may not like our players every day, but we will show our players that we love them every day.
    “Even if I ride a player and she has a tough day, I make sure at the end of the day, she knows that I care about her. Coaching may be a business, but it’s not all business.” You never want a player to think, “He hates me,” or, “I hate him.” If it got to this, there’s been a big mistake and it needs to be fixed. It’s not your team. It’s not my team. It’s our team.

This is based on a lecture from Mike Perez’s Intro to Physical Education class. The material is a combination of Mike’s extensive experience as well as notes from a talk by Dr. Gregory Dell, Professor of Sport Psychology and Sport Ethics at Duke University ( If you’re in the South Bay Area, I highly recommend taking Mike’s course (PE.30) at West Valley College.

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