With a Coaches Facebook group of over 1300 coaches (and growing every day), we wanted to get to know our coaches better and give back to our community by hosting our first ever Coaches Facebook Live Q&A. Coaches were encouraged to submit questions ahead of time using the hashtag #QAwithLindsey, and they were also encouraged to attend the Q&A live to ask any additional questions and join the live conversation. We had a number of coaches attend live to ask questions and provide links to resources for coaches, and others who tuned in after the broadcast concluded. Overall, it was an impactful way to connect with our national community of coaches, and to get a pulse on the real issues that our coaches are struggling with. The following is a brief overview of some of the topics we covered.
If you're a coach, we encourage you to watch the full video here. If you are not yet a member of our Coaches group, you will need to request membership to gain access to the video. For athletes and parents, you can watch the full video here. Please feel free to add any new comments and questions to the comment section. We'll be answering questions as they come and compiling a list of new ones for our next Facebook Live Q&A broadcast.
In general, we noticed four common themes among the questions that were asked and addressed these one theme at a time.
We had so many coaches submit questions about helping their athletes build confidence. We received insight such as, “My biggest challenge as a coach is my athlete’s fear of failure,” and, “I’m struggling to help my players overcome feelings of self-doubt”.
There’s no question that confidence is an issue for athletes. Confidence affects athletic, academic, and social performance, and can help or hurt a team. The lesson for coaches is that, as important as confidence is, you can’t GIVE your athletes confidence.
The best way to train confidence is to first frame what confidence is. Its counterintuitive, but one of the best ways to understand what confidence IS is by thinking about what it ISN'T. The opposite of confidence is anxiety, nervousness, and questioning that stems from underlying distrust in oneself. As a coach, the best way you can help your athletes find confidence is to remove these barriers to confidence.
Our confidence takeaway is this: Work on removing fear and other barriers to confidence.
Many coaches asked questions pertaining to interpersonal dynamics on the team. One coach asked, “How do you mediate jealousy among parents and mediocre players?"; and another asked about helping athletes change their “me vs. we mentality”.
When it comes to interpersonal relationships on the team, the first step is to stop complaining. Stop complaining about the entitled generation, overwhelming parents, or unmotivated athletes. All coaches can control is themselves and the spaces they create. As a coach, the best way you can build better team dynamics is by building trust with players and parents.
Think about it this way, the parents of athletes are trusting you with their children. In order to let go, they have to trust that you are fair, qualified, and invested in their child.
During this section of the Q&A, Joe Huck shared this great article about a high school coach that built a great team culture by welcoming a dialogue with the parents. The coach worked to lift back the curtain of his coaching methods and team culture in order to give parents some ownership over helping him strengthen it. The coach even went so far as to ask parents what he could do better. By being open and forthright with parents, this coach created trust, vulnerability, and space on the team for the parents.
This method is not a quick fix. During the broadcast, Allan Jeffrey shared this quote about trust,
“The athlete needs to know that you care before they care what you know."
Interpersonal dynamics takeaway: Trust is the backbone of everything.
Presence is important, it allows your athletes to be present and let go of everything else. You know that in order for them to play well they need to not worry about the bad call, the overtime, or anything in the future or past; they just need to play in the present moment. But how can you make them focus and be present?
Chances are, you’ve already tried typical ways of getting your athletes to focus. You’ve given them harder practices, pre-practice huddles; you’ve tried telling them to focus, and it’s not working as well as you wish it would.
The first step is to believe that this issue of focus is solvable, it might just require you to think outside of the box. Next, you have to recognize that being present and focused is a habit and one that needs to be practiced in order to be effective.
To train focus and presence, you have to teach athletes to be mindful. Some of the coaches in our group use our focusing exercise (the BRAVR), or other techniques that work for their team. Remember, there are no quick fixes for your mind; you have to be consistent with daily practice in order to see consistency in results. If you don't do mindfulness practices as a coach, we highly suggest you begin forming this habit in your life and on your team. Don’t complain about focus issues if you’re not taking time every day to help your team practice mindfulness.
Presence/Focus takeaway: It has to be a daily practice.
Competitiveness and confidence are closely related because you need to be confident in order to compete at a high level. To train competitiveness and mental toughness, you need to help them become confident by removing the fear (see 'confidence'), and you have to teach them to persevere by showing them what the outcome of their perseverance could look like. Give them a future vision of what they are capable of in order to motivate them to work hard. If they don’t believe that their hard work and perseverance will pay off, they won’t work hard.
Sometimes lazy athletes are just lazy athletes, but most of the time, they’re fearful or don’t believe in themselves. Perhaps your athletes don’t have a good example of hard work paying off, or they don’t have people pushing them at home to believe in themselves. Think of it this way: how difficult would it be for you to graduate high school or college if NO ONE in your family had done it before? We ALL need a visual of a better, future self AND we have to believe we are capable of it.
Help your athletes visualize what a better future 'them' would look like. Again, this is not a quick fix, but your investment will pay off.
Competitiveness/mental toughness: Help them visualize how their hard work will pay off.
Thank you to all the coaches that asked questions and contributed to our first ever Facebook LIVE Q&A session. This is the first of many future Coaches Facebook Live Q&A sessions with Lindsey Wilson. As you have questions, post them in our group and hashtag #QAwithLindsey and we’ll address them at our next FB Live Q&A event.
If you're a coach, we encourage you to watch the full video here and add your comments and questions to the comment section. Athletes and parents can watch the full broadcast on our youtube channel here.