After sitting in the certification class for level 2 last week, it was impressed upon me as a coach and a father of 4, how important it is to be able to hear our players when they do talk to us.
Time and time again, I have found myself in the past just blankly staring into space as some of my 10 and 11 year old players were telling me of their stories and situations from school, and other outside activities, which is not a good way to connect with the kids, I have found..
Mostly what the kids need to know is that they are heard, by telling them you do hear them by saying back to them what they have said, affirming to them you have heard them.
What this does now by reaffirming them, is open up the trust level and gain their trust in their feelings, and in return they will be more willing to trust what you have to say in coaching them.
Last week in practice one of my kids was kinda having a less then subpar effort. After practice this kid approached me and told me he was sorry for not having a good practice because the night before his dog had to be put to rest. Then when I realized why this kid was somwhat down in practice, I then asked him questions about his dog and really listened to him as he told me how hard it was for him to lose his pet.. Well after hearing him, I then put myself in his situation and understood how important it was that I took the time to get personal with him in stuff outside hockey, and quickly gained his approval with him telling me "Thanks for listening".
Other kids on the team may be having trouble in school with classmates, teachers or problems at home with mom or dad, and may need to have someone they can talk with about these things. I am not saying we have to be their counslers but, just by listening to them we may be able to understand what they may be going through, thus understanding why they do what they do.
Coaches, just as we have bad days and take it home with us, or on the ice, these kids have loads that they carry with them throughout the day. Some are not able to share at home and need someone they can have hear them. Molding characters, and developing players does not come by just telling them what they need to do, but by getting inside their box and really hearing them..
So in closing, lets try to make a difference in our kids life by being willing to take time and listen, which I am sure many of you already do. The kids will never be upset by you asking them how their day was, it just might make a difference!
Tag(s): Coach's Corner