What makes a good football coach? It’s a question that most coaches have been asked on their journey and will also often ask themselves when reflecting on their performances and what they can do better.
Think about some of the best coaches in the world. What makes them effective and takes them to the levels they have reached and the success they have achieved?
There have been many great players who may know the game inside out but who have not been able to take their on-field endeavours and translate it to success in the dugout.
“Assuming that a coach has a strong base of sport-specific knowledge, when we think about excellent coaches, inevitably, expertise is not defined by what they know, but by how they do it,” says Sarah McQuade in our free webinar, The Art of Effective Communication in football, which is available to watch on the MiMentor Platform (free account required).
Sarah, one of our course mentors, is an expert in coaching process and coaching performance with 20 years’ experience within sports coach education.
She has worked closely with many sporting governing bodies around the world, from football, rugby and athletics, to golf, rowing and tennis, and believes that expert coaching is as much about relationships and communication as it is topical expertise and know-how.
“It doesn’t matter how much of a technical expert you are, if you cannot build relationships and you cannot communicate, you are going to struggle to help anyone learn and develop,” she adds.
“It’s the difference that makes the difference, and in this case that is a coach’s ability to build relationships, to create the climate and to communicate effectively.”
The Art of Effective Communication in football webinar, that also features two of our other mentors, Grant Downie, former head of performance services at Manchester City, and sports psychologist Philippa McGregor, supports our CPD course on the subject.
In the course, Sarah and UEFA Pro Licence coach Ben Garner help students gain a greater understanding of the importance of communication to enable them to adapt their approach to different circumstances, scenarios, and people within the game.
The course covers five lesson topics focusing on the importance of effective communication, listening, asking questions, reflecting on your coaching skills, and communication in a soccer coaching context.
It helps coaches to develop their understanding and knowledge of communication, building on the basics around an extremely important area of football coaching and development.
How effective are you as a communicator with your players? Is it something you consider often?
At each game or training session, you will often need to choose the appropriate way to communicate with your players, whether as a team, group or individuals.
There will be occasions where your communication needs to be quick and more direct. On other occasions, your communication style may be more open with fewer time constraints. It may be through talking and telling, demonstrating, or asking questions to gauge the understanding of the players.
Naturally, with experience, you will become more adept in each of these scenarios and while what you say is important, how you say it and deliver the message is key.
You can learn and develop your communication methods and styles from observing other coaches, particularly those with experience in high-level football. Meanwhile, reflecting on your performance, understanding what went well and what didn’t, is another valuable method for you to develop your skills as a communicator.
To maximise the progress of the players that you are coaching, it is important that you not only plan your coaching topic from a technical perspective, but also consider how you are going to communicate your messages, ensure that you use a mixture of delivery techniques to meet all of their learning needs.