Actions speak louder than words, and behavior patterns often hint at deeper stories.
It’s up to you as a coach to pay attention to the details of your girls’ behaviors on and off the field in order to truly understand each player and build the strongest relationship possible.
So how do you initiate a dialogue with athletes, develop personal connections and process the information you get to apply as a coach?
Spot the Difference
What’s the point? Well, according to leadership expert Warren Bennis, the best leaders are “first-class noticers.”
When you notice things about girls, it lets them know that you
OK, so what are you noticing? And how do you notice it?
LOOK & LISTEN
From an untucked elbow in a softball swing to a slight hunch in the shoulders in rowing, noticing is what coaches do. You can expand this skill beyond the sport and use it to develop strong relationships with your athletes.
Because it can be difficult to directly ask girls about themselves, you have to learn how to notice things that can be indicators of deeper personal stories.
- Strengths, especially those that athletes may not recognize themselves
- What words girls use to describe themselves
- How they learn best, be it visually, auditory, kinesthetically
- What makes them laugh / happy
- Sociability / how they make friends
- What makes them uncomfortable or upset
Strengths, especially those that athletes may not recognize themselves
How they learn best, be it visually, auditory, kinesthetically
Sociability / how they make friends
What words girls use to describe themselves
What makes them laugh / happy
What makes them uncomfortable or upset
Notice things that you can see and hear, and understand that there is a deeper story behind all of it. But rather than figure out what that story is immediately, just focus on treating athletes with empathy and patience, understanding that each individual has a full life that contributes to what you see and hear from them.
Informal time is a great time to look and listen to what’s going on with your athletes. Just noticing and showing them that you see them as individuals can be very powerful.
Noticing is the first step.
18% of kids in a Nevada school district didn’t think an adult would notice if they didn’t come to school. 
How do you think this affects a kid’s desire to go somewhere if they don’t think it matters if they show up?
The foundation of your relationships with girls is seeing them. Your ability to consistently show them that you see them can be an important motivator for them to show up.