Focus on the team’s goal. If you focus on the overall goals of your team, then it will be easier to lead others and show them how to achieve it. Positioning the team to a clear goal helps create direction and unity that proves invaluable over the course of a season.
Follow through on your promises. If you say you’ll reward your teams for achieving a goal, or institute more practices or video study after a loss you have to hold yourself accountable to be able to hold your team to the same standards.
Avoid micromanaging. Micromanaging can have a negative impact on the group you’re trying to lead. You have to trust your players and recognize when they need real guidance or just encouragement.
Respect the opinions of others. Allow them to share their ideas. As a coach and leader, you will have associate coaches and then team leaders amongst your players who will voice their opinions and you will earn their respect by listening.
Listen to the needs of others. If you listen carefully, you’ll discover more about what motivates your team members. Do they need a more skill-based practice as opposed to conditioning? Are there more effective player combinations you can use?
Conceptual thinking. Are you able to plan a team’s style and strategy long term and stick to that initial thinking, or does that plan require changes along the way? A coach and leader will have to know when to and when to not adjust.
Personal development. Each player should be able to improve for what you share with them as a coach. You have to be dedicated to helping build the potential in each player and find ways to unlock individual development, not just that of a team.
Allow others to see your emotions. Your leadership will benefit from showing a human side. Players, other coaches, and parents are not likely to follow or learn from a robotic figure. Emotions show that a coach is deeply and truly invested.
Creativity. The ability to think differently is a crucial leadership skill. Can you learn from the training habits of other athletes or from other sports? Are there comparable situations to use as examples? A good coach finds unique methods to teach.
Admit mistakes. Pretending that a mistake didn’t happen will make your players lose respect for you. Displaying yourself as an infallible figure means your players will work to prove your wrong, rather than play for you and with you.
Objective listening. A good coach will have to listen to others in order to solve team problems. Players, parents, and other coaches can only help if you let them by listening.
Don’t use fear or intimidation as a tactic. Showing levels of diplomacy and tact will benefit the long term relationships with players and other staff and bring about a greater chance of being able to build a positive and successful team.
Give your players room to grow. They need to be able to make progress and set their own goals. A team cannot and will not grow without players undergoing their own individual growth.
Show empathy towards your players. After a tough loss or personal setback, a good coach has to gauge what type of response the player might need from them. Some will respond to getting right back to work, others may need to talk things through or review differently.
Show your expertise. If you know the answers, don’t let others struggle to find them. It benefits the players and parents on the team to know that you have the base of knowledge that allows you to lead and game plan effectively.
Spend time with your team. Leaders need to know and understand the people around them. Understanding how your players act around each other and outside of a game or practice is a key to understanding and getting to know them on a more effective level.
Keep an open-door policy. Let your team members know that you’re willing to listen to them at any time. Accessibility helps bring more voices and team leaders to the forefront.
Transparency can help you avoid rumors and gossip. Relay information to the players as well as the parents. Be available for contact and clarifications.
Stay flexible. Each season will bring new challenges, new players, new personalities, and rule changes. A rigid system and personality are unlikely to work in a long term scenario.
Use your intuition as a coach. If you feel the instinct to change practice to improve the team mood or that juggling a lineup may lead to an in-game spark you have to trust in yourself and your instincts for the game.
Accept that some team members need more attention. Different personalities require different leadership strategies. Be able to delegate to specific position coaches or find ways to make sure players get the attention they need.
Stay confident. Confidence is contagious. A coach is the emotional head of a team and their emotions, moods, and actions are reflections of the coach and their leadership.
Preach responsibility. Ensure your team members know their responsibilities. This will encourage them to stay focused and increase the level of accountability in games and practices.
Plan and organize for each game and practice. Knowing what you want to accomplish will allow a coach to have goals in mind to achieve for the team and allow them to shift tactics to better achieve them.
Be player focused. Above all the happiness and safety of the player is the most important aspect of a coach’s job. This fact has to be at the forefront of all actions and decisions.