The first step toward personal or team improvement is to recognize that things can be improved. These improvements, however, don’t happen magically. It takes a joint effort of players and coaches to make a team successful. Here are a few ways to accomplish this:
1. Help your coach understand what works best for you and your performance. There is a common misconception that on a team, it is the players vs. the coaches. This is not only untrue, but it is also detrimental to the ultimate team goal. Players must realize that the coaches are here to work with you not against you. Performance is enhanced most readily when coaches and athletes work together to create a positive environment and share responsibility for pursuing the mission and improving ongoing communication.
2. Work on improving your communication skills. Another important lesson is that not everything a coach says to you is negative. You must understand that when a coach comes to you about an issue with your attitude or performance, the coach is communicating with you to try to help. With this in mind, it is important to recognize that you are not being attacked and to engage in a constructive conversation instead of reacting defensively and shutting down.
3. Take responsibility for what is best for you and your performance. It is important to understand that just because you talk to a coach, doesn’t mean that the change will automatically occur. It is up to you to take the responsibility to implement whatever plan of action you come up with. It might sound great and make you feel better to tell your coach that they will see a “whole new you,” but if you don’t take the responsibility to do what is best for you and the team, then it was all wasted.
4. Develop your capacity to direct and control your own focus and actions. The coaching staff works hard to fully prepare players for game day. It is their job to develop game plans and strategies, but it is up to the players to motivate themselves to be determined to win. The simple fact that your teammates, your brothers, are depending on you should be all the motivation you need. If Saturday morning comes around and you still need a rousing speech or a pumped up crowd to get you going, then you are already behind.