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Getting Buy In From Your Players

Coaches tend to talk a lot about buy in. After all, it’s hard to get people to commit to something they don’t believe in. But what are the best ways to go from talking about buy to actually getting players to trust their coach and the vision he or she has for the team?

In a blog post on the Hudl website, Cory Zehring, a girls’ basketball coach in Nebraska, lays out four ways coaches can earn their players’ trust. These have nothing to do with basketball and can work well for both team and individual sports.

The first tip is to “create a culture of consistency.” This means establishing goals and core philosophies that guide players and coaches year after year and staying with those philosophies even when the road gets a little bumpy.

Some coaches describe this as trusting in the process. If you focus on following the process, the wins and losses will take of themselves. If you chase the wins, who knows where you’ll end up.

The second suggestion is “treat your players as valuable contributors.” Explain the reasons behind your philosophies and listen to their opinions. Even though you make the final decision, they will appreciate knowing their views were considered. By listening to players and adapting to their needs, you’re making them stakeholders invested in the team’s success.

Make sure every player knows they’re appreciated. This starts by ensuring every member of the program knows their role and the value that it brings. It’s a lot easier for a player to accept limited game time when the coach regularly points out and praises their contributions to push the starters and make the team better during practice.

Third is “communicate clearly.” This means both sending and receiving messages effectively.

Make sure players understand your expectations and their responsibilities. Tell them why you want things done a certain way. This will help them realize the value in it and lead them to trust it.

At the same time, listen to what they’re telling you, even if it’s not in words. Look for signs that they may need you to back off on the work load or give them a pat on the shoulder. And rely on your assistants to help you. Players may say things to them that they won’t to the head coach.

Last is “be accountable.” Emphasize that games are won or lost as a team. No one player or unit is responsible for a loss, just as no one person or unit is the sole reason behind a win. It’s fine to go over mistakes in film sessions, but avoid laying blame.

Click here to read the full article.

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