How can a coach become a better listener?

Photos courtesy of individual members, Take Notes. Taking notes helps you focus and actively listen to your customer. Hone your active listening skills to become a better leader. These are the 6 skills you should practice.

Have you ever been told that you're a good listener? If so, thank you. Although coaches are generally thought of as people who tell others what to do, the best coaches put as much effort and care into listening to their athletes as they are in instructing them. The old slogan “my way or on the road” is not only ridiculous because of the negative aura that surrounds it, but rather because it shows that a coach with that mentality is not willing to listen to what is happening to the athlete. When a coach “my way or my way” listens to an athlete, most likely when he hears a complaint he thinks: “This guy doesn't do it my way, to hell with him, I'm going to attack this guy.

All coaches want athletes to be able to be robots, to be able to connect automatically and to be ready to compete or practice no matter what happens in their lives. If you've ever been or are an athlete, you've most likely run into a coach who loves to hear each other talk. There's nothing wrong with reinforcing your training philosophy and explaining to a young person why you do things the way you do them. Matt uses TrainingPeaks to train, train and offer pre-designed training plans for runners, including training plans specifically designed to be used with a Garmin Forerunner.

This does not mean that the coach should be the mother, the father or the counselor, but that, in order to perform effectively, both the coach and the athlete must understand where they are coming from and what is the best way to do their jobs at that time. Psychologists use this technique to get patients to make changes, such as quitting smoking and improving their diet, but coaches can use an informal version of the same method to help athletes make the changes they need to make, as I do now with most of my athletes. However, too many coaches believe that having their athletes listen to and strictly follow their instructions is the only way for an athlete to succeed. Matt Fitzgerald is a journalist, author, coach and runner specializing in health, fitness, nutrition and endurance sports training (read more about Matt on his blog).

Your goal as a coach should be to create the same type of open, free and communicative space with your players as you would with someone you care about at home. When an athlete talks to you, you must create an environment open to free communication in which the athlete feels that he can say what he thinks and the coach shows that he is fully engaged and that he takes into account his concerns. For more information on how to use motivational interviewing in the context of training, see the book Motivational Interviews in Nutrition and Fitness by Dawn Clifford and Laura Curtis.