SIGN UP for our Digital Editions and E-Newsletters

Search form

When Players are the Teachers

Being a coach means that you are also a teacher. You will have to communicate various skills and techniques to your athletes in order for them to be successful, but that doesn’t mean you have to be the only person on the team with this role. Players can also be teachers, and your team will be better because of it. 

“Coaches and teachers have always been on the same team, because they understand the challenges of communicating an idea to someone who hasn’t encountered it before, and needs to master it to move on and succeed,” writes Tom Bowen of “So what better challenge could you offer your players than to pass on knowledge and skills to their teammates?”

Allowing your athletes to take on a teaching role is a great way for them to better understand the game and improve their communication skills. It is also creates an opportunity to strengthen the team bonds, as it causes players to directly interact more than they usually would. This can create situations such as a senior captain working with a group of freshmen to teach a new skill or technique, whereas they might not have had these types of conversations otherwise. When everybody is working together to get better, it makes the team stronger.

For the players doing the teaching, it will force them to think through every part of the skill and find a way to effectively communicate it. Even if they have mastered the skill themselves, having to teach it will help them better understand how to adapt it and apply it to different situations. Standing in front of their teammates and talking through a lesson will also provide valuable leadership experience, as it helps them see the value of being humble and patient. 

For those on the learning side, they see the value that can be provided from their peers, which will encourage them to listen to and respect their teammates. When another person on the team is able to teach and demonstrate a skill, the players watching are given the confidence that they can do the same. Sometimes when a coach is doing all the instructing, a certain task can seem more difficult than it really is. But another athlete can step in and show that it can be done.

Another thing to keep in mind is that everybody has different ways of learning and relaying information. Your teaching techniques may work well for some players but not so well for others, so it’s important to recognize that some may need to hear a different voice or approach. In addition, you might also learn something yourself in the process. If a certain player was taught a skill in a different way than you were taught it, there’s a chance you could pick up new method or ways of explaining something that you had never thought of or seen before.

Lastly, when you’re coaching an entire team, it can be difficult to keep track of what everyone is doing. During training, your eyes can’t always be everywhere, but if you have athletes that are able to recognize when a task is being done right or if it needs to be corrected, then you don’t have to worry about running around making sure everyone is on the same page. Consider talking to your players about the value of taking on a teaching role and how it can benefit them as well as the whole team. 

Click here to read the full article.

We’ll send ALL OF YOUR COACHES a weekly email newsletter containing instruction, advice and valuable information on:
  • PROPER COMMUNICATION: With your athletes, parents, administrators and the coaches
  • SUCCESSFUL OPERATIONS: Pre-Season, In-Season, Off-Season
  • LEADERSHIP TECHNIQUES: Creating the proper environment for teaching athletes life skills
  • RISK MANAGEMENT: Keeping your athletes safe at practices, during games, off-eason training, etc.
  • ATHLETE PERFORMANCE: Tips in areas of Conditioning, Nutrition, Mental Training, etc., that help your athletes perform at their best and improve their overall wellness
  • PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT: Ways to help your coaches be the best they can be