How to Coach a Sports Team

Three Methods:Perfect as a coachGet fully preparedPractice your coaching skills

Coaching a team can be hard work. But with these steps, it could get a bit easier.


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    Find some empty time. A workaholic couldn't realistically coach full-time. Realize that coaching is a commitment. If you walk out on the first day, then you show a really bad side of yourself. Don't coach if you can't coach.
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    Learn every strategy and detail about your sport. It will help to know what a home run is if you are coaching little league.
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    Read books on coaching, talk to other coaches, network. Read a book like 101 Youth Coaching Tips to help you get started. There are other essential qualities an ideal coach needs to possess than mere education, training and experience. What follows are some of the important steps that are necessary for you to take if you want to perfect your craft as a coach. The most important ones include:

Method 1
Perfect as a coach

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    Obtain the desired educational qualifications, training and experience.
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    Adopt the complete set of directives for efficient self-management. For instance, one’s health, career needs, money management requirements, and a whole assortment of critical and adaptive life skills need to be honed.
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    Learn how to develop relationships and manage them well.
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    Master the art of building an atmosphere that encourages learning.
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    Mastering complete goal orientation and crisis management.
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    Deliver high value service and high quality sessions

Method 2
Get fully prepared

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    Always approach a session fully prepared to ensure you are tuned in to your athletes and can focus entirely on them.
    • Clear your mind of all thoughts, opinions, value judgments, prejudices and experiences. This amplifies your listening skills and ability to process information you are giving and receiving without interference and helps you respond to their needs.
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    Review the session prior (if there has been one) to your current one. Make notes as reminders of what you need to accomplish in the next session. This may not go according to plan but it stops you trying to remember while in the middle of the coaching session.
    • Do not condone distractions either of yourself or from the athletes during the session.
    • Remove any potential sources of distractions like misbehaving or undisciplined spectators, handheld devices, mobile phones and computers.
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    Make sure your athlete learns something new in the sessions. They must always take away something positive from their interaction with you. This must be confirmed by them so do not make assumptions that all went well.
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    Confirm the next session or steps or actions they need to take away from the session in order for them to achieve their targets.
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    Learn how to remain focused and keep this check list in mind, especially self-management, which is often neglected or taken for granted. If you value your career prospects and personal levels of performance, you will do what it takes to remain fit and enthusiastic
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    Look for a job. If you are a teacher, ask if a coaching position at your school is open. If not, search through classified ads.
    • Don't be afraid to ask for a coaching job in person. If you get a "No", then try again somewhere else. In larger cities, there are many sports clubs that you can contact.
    • Surf the internet to discover new opportunities.
    • Accept any coaching jobs. Don't expect to jump right into the head coaching position. Of course, it makes sense to hope for that job, but accept an assistant coaching position too.
    • Start small. People running the clubs or teams need to see what you can do as a coach. There has to be some trust that you know what you are doing, and that the players will be safe.

Method 3
Practice your coaching skills

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    Build the following skills when you work towards becoming that 'good sports coach:
    • The ability to motivate.
    • The ability to make quality decisions.
    • The ability to communicate effectively. Use easy to understand language at a level appropriate to the listener to eliminate unnecessary repetition and minimise misunderstanding.
    • The ability to provide personal reinforcement without creating a sense of contentment that may lead to arrogance. Athletes must feel good about their performance but must never lose the hunger to grow.
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    Recognize your strengths and be smart enough to seek help when you need it or delegate work.
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    Be observant towards every detail. Anticipate and expect questions.
    • Assure the athlete when they do well and pull them up when focus or effort drops.
    • Observe learning taking place if you pay attention.
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    Know that coaching is about the athlete and needs to essentially be athlete-led and so, in that sense, you should not perceive yourself to be the boss.
    • Possess the humility to give due credit to those who deserve it. It is immensely important for you, the coach to appreciate the problems of the athlete and be compassionate towards them.
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    Adopt suitable styles commensurate to the needs of the athletes. Trying to force them to abide by the coach’s personalised style of performance enhancement may not be the best thing to do.
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    Play video games in "coach mode" or "manager mode". Write playbooks and new strategies in your spare time. Keep a notebook of what you plan to do.
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    Get to know your team.
    • Learn ALL of the players names as quickly as possible. Find out the players' preferred name (e.g. James vs Jim, Jaclyn vs Jackie).
    • Learn their strengths and their weaknesses, capture your thoughts in your notebook.
    • Work along with their strengths, and try to improve the areas they are weak in. Be friendly with your team. No one wants to take orders from an unfriendly person.
    • Get to know your coaching staff. This goes for any coaching job. Being friendly will make you either rise the ranks or have happier assistant coaches (depends which job you get).
    • Don't be afraid to give your ideas to the head coach, and review any ideas if you are the head coach.
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    Teach your pitcher a new pitch.
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    Teach your QB a way to get out of a jam.
    • Warm up before every game.
    • Coach the games!
    • Use all of the previous tips to your advantage.
    • Know what to do if your catcher gets hurt.
    • Have all of your strategies memorized.
    • Don't just sit on the bench for the whole game. Take time to congratulate a player who did well, and to reassure a player who choked that it is just a game.
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    Realize that winning isn't everything. There will always be a "next season". But, nonetheless, try to make your mark. It will increase your job security.
    • Keep going! Once you have coached a Little League Team, you might get calls from middle school teams. Once you coach them, the high schools might come knocking. Then colleges will be calling you.
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    Keep consistently rising up this mountain, then you could be in the pros one day!


  • Do not chastise bad performances. Take a moment to think about what you wish to say and consider this. Does a 12-year-old really want to hear you yell at him for not making an easy shot? A well timed encouraging word and consistent positive reinforcement is what will help improve the athlete's performance.
  • Remember that most of your players are only playing for fun.
  • Do not let coaching consume your life. Make time for other things in life.
  • Carry a rulebook. This is a good way to actually make the referees agree with you without getting yourself thrown out.
  • Do not antagonize or needlessly argue with the referees. It sets a bad example to your team if you are kicked out of the game leaving your assistants in charge.
  • Know the competition. See which hitters are on fire and which ones are in a slump and train your athletes to recognise this and turn it into a tactical advantage.
  • Know any special rules this league might have. T-ball usually is just a free-for-all. These special rules will decrease as age and level goes up.


  • Coaching is a very time-consuming job.
  • Coaching full-time may force you to quit any previous jobs or hobbies.
  • Being incredibly rude and inappropriate will lose you your job.

Things You'll Need

  • Rulebook
  • Good 5-subject notebook (for strategies and plays)
  • Video game to test your coaching skills (optional)
  • Appropriate shoes and clothes
  • Small emergency kit
  • Hot and cold pads
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Bandages

Article Info

Categories: Sports Leadership