It’s that time of the year when your team has no doubt had some good games, and some bad ones.
If this sounds familiar, then be aware that your behavior plays a key role in how your season ends.
It’s getting hot, players have aches and pains and the season is getting l-o-n-g. Some of your players are playing good, while others aren’t. Everyone is getting tired and as a result, enthusiasm at practice is probably low.
Everything about the season is starting to wear on you and rightfully so. But just be aware that you are the leader of your team, and while you might think you’re handling it like a pro and taking it all in stride, there are signs that you’re a little tenser than when the season started.
Your team senses when you’re tense and that makes them tense. Tense players don’t play very well and tense coaches don’t coach well. If players think their leader is changing under the pressures of the season, then it signals to them that things might be worse then they thought. So acting cool, even when we might not feel it inside, is a special skill we need to master as coaches.
To see what your “Cool Factor” is do this little self-check and see if you’ve changed:
- Do you still smile when you first see your players?
- Do you still talk to each of your players, or only the ones playing well?
- Are you still excited about your team and your season, or starting to get a little grumpy around the edges?
- Does anyone close to you notice that you’ve changed your behavior lately?
While staying the same when your team isn’t playing so well is hard, it’s the best thing you can do to help your team play better. Our natural reaction when things start going wrong is to toughen up or start cracking down. This makes players more tense, more careful, and they start playing on pins and needles – none of which will improve play or lead to success. Instead, when your team starts to struggle and you get tired – be cool! Stay yourself and remember the more you stay the same the more your team will stay relaxed, and a relaxed team plays better!
For more help with how to handle stress, competition, slumps and other mid-season issues check out our best-selling book: A Coaches Guide to Team Chemistry.