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Posted in: General

What's the best coaching advice you've ever been given?

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  • robertkmaaye

    I'm interested to hear the best coaching advice you've ever been given. This is with a view to turning it into a blog post so the advice can benefit all ConnectedCoaches members.

    We will also turn them into images that can be shared on twitter like the ones in this album.

  • pippaglen

    as a coach in athletics my final exam I was so frightened,  the examiner said to me,  iv never seen a coach coach with such a fun element don't let anyone take that away you are the sort of coaches we need.

    Always be that coach fun and exciting.  

  • mantrobus

    Keep it as close to the game as possible. 

    through my coaching journey I completely agree and this is advice I pass on when working with coaches. If it is close to the game players/athletes can transfer the skills.

  • ps.rhodes1

    There are so many great nuggets of advice I've recieved over the years. A recent 'Coaches Edge' magazine had a leading squash coach quote "have pride in your coaching, not arrogance". I suppose a proud coach would reflect and adapt in response to those nuggets of advice, in the same way we hope players reflect and adapt to those nuggets we offer them. 

    "Coach the person not the sport" is probably the most important principle notion I try to embed in my coaching. 

  • AndyEdwards

    I think the best advice I have been given is 'be yourself'. I am always trying to improve as a coach, and we all need to be like a chameleon at times, but it is important for me to be myself - that might be my passion/sense of humour/willingness to improvise etc.

  • JonWoodward74

    Given to me by the man who gave me my first role in coaching - self praise is no reccommendation

  • clairemorrison

    Be true to yourself. I have found this the best piece of advice on my coaching journey. As we develop as coaches it is easy to try to adopt so many different styles and examples but it is important to retain what makes you, you. It is easy to get distracted by trying to be something you are not. We can all develop and build on the foundations we already have to become more effective coaches. 

  • PaulT

    Be flexible & think in your feet! Things don't always go to plan and you need to be able to be creative & adapt when they don't 

  • I used to be an american football player so I passed the best bits I learned from my coaches to the children I coached in that sport...Previous to a quarter final a crucial comment our head coach said in the pep talk that put me in MY right level of arousal and mindset (I was over-aroused), was ...


    And it worked! We won, I was the MVP and had the BEST game of my life!! From then on, I've been  adapting the quoute according to the sport/activity,  and say it to the right athlete/person at the right moment :)      

  • garyfowler

    Linking in to what Noe said about mindset, coupled with workshops I've attended on sports pyschology as well as my own personal non-sport experiences. 

    "Coach the person, then the player" is the best advice I've learned

    So much literature talks about technical/tactical/physical/pyscho-social etc but surely pyschology underpins them all! I had a chance to discuss this with Dan Abrahams and suggested a model that represents the 4 legs of a table, with the pyschology being the ground. If the ground is uneven, it will impact upon the whole balance of the table.

    You may have a a player, for example, with wonderful tecnhique in golf, but if his/her mindset is off or negative it impacts the consistency of that tecnhique. 

    Working in girls soccer for many years in USA too only highlighted to me the importance of what I call the 'levelness' of the person in order for them to perform as a player.


  • AGrant

    When I was starting out on my coaching journey working on the summer camps in the USA, the senior staff used to give lots of invaluable tips and advice. One piece of advice that has really stayed with me over the years and I would consider the best is: Learn everyone's name as quickly as possible. 

    This might not seem earth-shattering advice but they highlighted how much easier it is to control the group, to make a connection, to personalise the feedback and to develop rapport. And most importantly, it makes the kids feel good when they hear their name. Children will recall long after they had forgotten your amazing drill or demonstration how they were made to feel by you. Coaches create emotions, emotions make memories.

    So even though I don't work on soccer camps, delivering to hundreds of new faces every week, I still remember this when I am starting with a new team or when new players arrive at my session. 

  • That is so true Gary! Luckly, in the recent decades we ( the sport coaches) are re-uniting two things that in reality have always been one , but sadly Western social constructions have splitted as two different things, these two inseparable aspects of the athlete are:  the body and the mind - and some colleagues would argue that the spirit would be a third element !  Let's keep working towards forming well balanced athletes with solid and stable four legs (I liked your example of the even table).     

  • Huffs

    Coach the people in front of you not the session.

  • dedson1991

    The two best pieces of coaching advice that I have ever been given were to always allow the athletes to be creative during training and never stifle that creativity. Secondly to never stop learning and to always remember the importance that learning from both coaches from my sport and coaches from other sports can play on my development. 

  • David_T

    My mentor often says ...if you don't beleive in something, you'll fall for everything!

    Wise words I feel, particularly in a technical event where there's sometimes more than one way to the end goal.

  • Malcolmlf

    Mine actually comes from advice to the athlete, but is also well suited to the coach:-


    'Train (coach) as much as is necessary, not as much as you can.'.

  • Richardsl

    So many great responses so far, find my self-nodding away in agreement with a lot of them. 

    For me personally two bits of advice I found particular pertinent were

    1) "You don't know what you don't know". Sounds pretty obvious but when you step back and think about it, there are a lot ramifications with regards to the why of how we coach and for me personally it has instilled an element of always striving to learn more.

    2) "To have influence when coaching you need to add value" This is of particular pertinence to me as I often find that I am the youngest coach in the environments I coach in, and I don't have an elite sport background to fall back on, so always looking for ways to add value to a session. A lot of it relates back to "playing" the role of a coach.



  • I have been lucky enough to have lots of different and invaluable pieces of adivce passed on to me by various coaching and teaching professionals. I think the best coaching advice I have had is to think about if someone asked the players what your session was about and what were the coaching points given and why is this important in a game would they be able to give clear answers. This has always helped me focus on whether I have actually got the message across to this particular group of individuals and if I did not, why did it not get across.

  • andrewb62

    I can't remember where I first heard this (maybe I didn't realise how true it was, at the time) but one piece of advice I always try to remember:

    you are the players' coach; they are not your players!

  • I've had a lot of good piece of advices during the years i've been coaching, most of them have already been posted here, however there are two quotes that constantly come to mind when coaching my teams:

    1 - "Never promise something you can't give."

    2 - " It's more important how "big" they want to be in the future than how "big" they are at the moment." - this was used on a context of individual assessment of players from a Handball team but i think it's transferable to a group scheme as well.


  • EllieRaeDaly

    The best advice I got was that as a coach you will always be learning, this is not because you are not a good coach but this is because you could be better. As a coach you should embrace knowledge from other coaches as everyone has different and new ideas which can only help us develop.

  • RachelWhyatt

    I've never had a role model as a coach, sadly the opposite so I know what not to do and how not to make them feel. So good communication with the players, give them opportunities and don't be negative.  I didn't take well to being shouted at all the time... However, these 3 pieces of advice struck a chord with me

    - Always talk at their level. If they are on 1 knee, you go on one knee. Try to coach face to face instead of down at them.

    - Try to structure practice to keep kids moving, no standing around in queues. Thats when kids get bored and "jonnie hit me" and suddenly you aren't watching practice, you are dealing with kids messing around. You always need eyes in the back of your head!!!

    - Players need either a kick up the a*$e or a hug, it is your job to decide who needs which.  Apparently it is surprising who needs the hugs...

  • IanMahoney

    The best coaching advice was given by my coach, well

     i started to 'learn' coacing'.

    Never have favourites.

    I know from a few years ago, a football coach had his team and wouldn't change it. My newphew went training every week and turned up at matches, He obly played thier with insufficient numbers. He was a defender but scored the goal that won the natch the first game I watched.

    th3 ganes I did watch were my nepkew playes they won 3 and drew one. when my nephew never played they lost and by a cosibranle margin.

    Football lost out he is now a 3000m stepplechasers

    With 4 dats of joining an athketic club he was competing fot them!

    Hi s coach left the club because of a abusive tweet

    I could have been his coacg but rather somebody else coached hin so no favourtism occirs.

  • paulcrocker

    On a daily use practical level I always remind myself to “praise the process”. The phrase reminds me to add detail to the specifics of praise or feedback. It’s helped me really communicate clearly with athletes what was good or what they could improve.

    When times are hard and I hit a rut I remember a coach saying to me once “just care about you and your athletes” it’s selfish but sometimes we have to be to remind us of our priorities.

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