To start, you need to establish your expectations, this will determine your role within the team and let your players know what kind of coach you are going to be.
What's a coach to do?
- Know your athletes as more than just "players" who are put through drills. Showing them you care will improve the chances that they will give more of themselves because you are.
- Discover their teaching preferences, get their feedback and their motives for participating. Research shows that if these needs do not get met, the chances of players dropping out increase.
- Involve them in the teaching process. Communicate to them the purpose behind those exercises and drills and how it relates to the game. If they know why they are performing certain activities it's more likely that they will be less resistant when asked to run through them.
- Keep practices interesting. Repeating the same drills every week is boring for you and the team, and does not help growth.
- One of the biggest motivators for players is positive reinforcement. Praise can go a long way, so give verbal rewards for improvement and working hard.
Coaches can be a great help in in motivating athletes by setting up a pre-practice routine. Warm-up exercises are common, but coaches can do more by recommending proper eating habits, rest, and hydration which can go a long way to ensure quality practices and games. Encourage all team members (including yourself) to let go of outside stressors and distractions to increase the ability to work together as a team.
Motivating players needs to be worked on by coaches in a consistent manner to keep getting the most out of their team. This doesn't need to be an arduous task, so remember to go out and have some fun!
References from the SIRC Collection:
1. Adams M. Problem-focused coaching in a mainstream primary school: Reflections on PRACTICE. Coaching Psychologist. June 2012;8(1):27-37.
2. Grant A. An integrated model of goal-focused coaching: An evidence-based framework for teaching and practice. International Coaching Psychology Review. September 2012;7(2):146-165.
3. Maitland A, Gervis M. Goal-setting in youth football. Are coaches missing an opportunity?. Physical Education & Sport Pedagogy. October 2010;15(4):323-343.
4. Palmer S. Revisiting the 'P' in the PRACTICE coaching model. Coaching Psychologist. December 2011;7(2):156-158.
5. Schupak M. Practice Makes PERFECT. Parks & Recreation. February 2008;43(2):64-67.