Building a winning team isn’t an easy feat for a coach of any calibre. It’s even more challenging when you have a group of new, young, energetic children who are excited about the sport, but have very little experience in working together as a team.
Young players are motivated and positive about hockey at the start of a new season and this excitement can be the first tool a coach has to inspire the team to set some great goals. However, without first achieving a culture of teamwork in the group, seeing these goals come to light can be difficult.
No need to feel despondent, we have a few tips and tricks that can equip any coach for dealing with these challenges and establishing the foundation for reaching the team’s goals and for enjoying a great season.
TIPS TO PROMOTE TEAMWORK
- Work with your players to set goals for the whole team and involve them in generating ideas for a strategy on how to achieve these goals.
- Athletes listen when their coach takes the time to listen to them, so invest time in building relationships with your players and getting to know them personally. This could prove helpful in incorporating players’ personal hockey goals into the team’s goals and gaining their buy-in to the team spirit.
- Set the example by always being enthusiastic and motivated, but also be sure to use the tools of praise and positive reinforcement to support and encourage your players so they feel they belong.
- Always maintain your confidence and remember your players believe in you, so what you say and do will guide their decisions to engage in the team or not.
- Communication is key! Keep it simple, useful and understandable. Open communication among the team will ultimately promote unity and trust and prove helpful on the field.
- Instil a culture of accountability amongst your players that helps them learn that they can solve many of their own issues and that they are responsible for helping each other.