Choice of Words

By Brian Gotta, President of CoachDeck

The way you say something makes all the difference in the world. A coach might be frustrated with a player who he didn’t think was hustling and say, “You’re always looking for the easy way out!” Something like that can stick with a kid and do long term damage. If the coach would say instead, “You’re taking it too easy today,” the intended message would have been delivered without the risk of the player thinking the coach believed he was just lazy at heart.

After two players watched a pop fly land between them, I heard their coach say, “Did you want to catch the ball…did you not want to catch it?” How is the player supposed to respond to that question? Of course he wanted to catch it! Whenever I hear a coach ask a kid, “Did you want to hit the ball?” or “Did you want to score a goal?” I shake my head in amazement. Letting your frustration come out in the form of sarcasm like this only adds to a player’s fears and feelings of inadequacy. Keep in mind the origins of the word Coach; your job is to transport your players from where they are now, to where they want to be. I believe most players want to be somewhere and will perform better when they feel safe, comfortable and confident.

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