“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion it has taken place”
George Bernard Shaw

As a coach at any level, an ability to communicate your message, ethos and philosophy to players is an essential attribute. To get players to buy-in to your (and the clubs) philosophy you must be able to consistently communicate your values and standards in a clear and concise way.

While an ability to communicate is an essential skill when coaching at any level
It is of utmost importance when coaching kids, in particular in their first few years in a sport.

Coaching at this level you are shaping children’s perception of the game and also trying to teach the skills the child will need to progress in the sport.  You will probably also be dealing with a number of parents who are bringing their child to the club for the first time and your own child may well be involved in the team also.

Recently our local U8 soccer team began playing summer soccer. Before now children played GAA in the summer and soccer in the winter and but for a couple of weeks at the start or end of a season there was no cross over.
With the news that the soccer would be switching to the summer and aware that this would impact on a large number of children who were involved in both sports It was refreshing to see that local GAA clubs met with the soccer club to see how best to minimise clashes with training and matches.
Parents of players affected by the cross over were then brought to a meeting where the situation was explained and at no time was the question ever raised that a parent or child would need to choose one sport or the other.
This was done solely with the best interest of the children in mind.
As a result there have been some soccer matches played at 9.30 on a Saturday morning to allow children to attend a GAA blitz at 11am.

The coaches and mentors from all the clubs involved should be commended for this as ego and personal agenda was put to one side and all decisions were made with the best interest of the children in mind. These coaches ability to communicate effectively with both the parents and each other and their willingness to compromise will no doubt set a fantastic standard for these children to aspire to.

The ability of coaches to work together and share ideas, concepts and training methods is something we need to see a lot more of. A willingness to open up to new ways of doing things and to share one’s own findings is an essential ingredient in improving the experience for children within a sport.
In coaching communication is key. As a coach you must communicate effectively with other coaches, parents and players alike and an ability to do so will remove stress, increase enjoyment and enhance the experience for players, parents and also the coaches themselves.