5 tips for coaching challenging players


As a coach you are working with different types and personalities of players, where some players can be challenging to cooperate with. In order to being able to make working with every player easy,  the following tips could be helpful.

1 – Involvement

In particular young children are full of energy and their attention span can be short of time. Make sure that your drills are active and every player is part of it. Combine players of a similar level in a group or pairs so they will be challenged. Moreover, try to include small group work during training sessions. As a result, shy players will come out of their shell while disruptive players are kept busy.

2 – Individual Approach

It is necessary to know your players well since every athlete has their own set of characteristics, motivations, strengths and weaknesses. In terms of behaviour, as a coach your expectations must be standard. Your key role is to let the team understand how you expect them to behave. Being consistent at all time is crucial.

Gabe Infante, head football coach at St. Joseph Prep, said: “You have to be consistent in your messaging. I think it’s very easy sometimes to lose focus. Sometimes you become emotional about things and you lose the consistency of the message. It takes practice.”

3 – Acknowledge good behaviour

The best way to deal with undesirable behaviour is to have a one-on-one conversation which gives you the opportunity to appoint their behaviour. Use combining praise with constructive criticism because stimulation is usually a lot more effective than punishing.

Shaka Smart, head basketball coach at the University of Texas, said: “It’s really a partnership between the coach and the player. Punishment has its place, just be sure players understand exactly what they did wrong so they know how to avoid it in the future.”

4 – Pay attention to the parents

Parents need to know your expectations about the team. Be sure they know you are available if parents want to talk about issues and encourage them to show good behaviour so the players will imitate their examples. Besides, do not be afraid to tell parents in case their behaviour is affecting your team in a negative way.

5 – Stay calm

To make better decisions you must stay cool and at the end this will contribute to your team. Another success factor is to communicate well with the challenging players in order to understand their concerns and challenges they face. It is hard to resolve their issues but they will value your efforts.

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