“They don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”

If you’re a coach, chances are you have heard that statement before. It’s true! I’ve said before that successful coaches have successful relationships with their athletes. A coach must be able to motivate their athletes and motivation begins with the athlete knowing that you care about them as both an athlete and a person.

VCU Men’s Basketball Associate Head Coach Mike Rhoades has stated that Head Coach Shaka Smart’s greatest strength is the amount of time he spends with their players. North Carolina’s 21-time National Championship Women’s Soccer Coach Anson Dorrence takes time each season to write a letter to each of his seniors. There are countless other examples of coaches who take time to ensure their athletes know that they care.

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While certainly not a thorough list, these are five actions of coaches who care about their athletes.

1. Caring coaches prepare to be successful. – Whether it’s scouting opponents, preparing for practice, or coordinating an off-season workout plan, caring coaches mindfully prepare to put their athletes in the best situation to be competitive.

2. Caring coaches show 360-degrees of care. – Caring coaches not only prepare their athletes competitively, but they also support and guide their athletes through their academic pursuits and their personal lives.

3. Caring coaches make daily communication with their athletes. – During a season a coach should reach out to each of his athletes in some, at least small, way. At the very least a coach should take a walk through pre-practice warm-ups and ask about his day, ask about a test he may have taken, or ask how his family is doing. A little communication goes a long way.

4. Caring coaches never demean. – Coaches should demand high expectations from their athletes but they should never condemn the person.

5. Caring coaches leave conflict on the field/court/track. – There will certainly be times, whether in practice or during competition, when you feel individuals may not be performing at the level you expect. A caring coach is able to separate the performance of his athletes from the individual persons.

Question: What are some other ways that coaches can show they care about their athletes?



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