By Joe Rice
Contributor, Sports & Fitness Network
One of the main goals of every coach is to improve communication between players and coaches. However, coaches struggle in developing a specific strategy to improve communication. Pre-practice talks to the entire team or a few comments after practice may not suffice. Talking with a player or two on a random basis doesn’t improve it either. How do you find a consistent way to connect with your players in a one on one situation? Kick off your new season with a great strategy to help improve player-coach communication. The “222 Coaching Method” is a simple and effective way for coaches to be proactive and communicate with every player on a weekly basis.
The 222 Method
The 222 Method is a daily habit. Coaches will meet with two players before practice, two players during practice and then meet with two players after practice. These meetings should cover the topics of their roles, playing time, and areas for improvement. These 3-4 minute meetings are initiated by the coach and should be done one on one. The goal will be to communicate with each player at least once/week.
As players arrive at practice coaches can take a player aside for a few minutes and then talk with another player. During practice, perhaps during a water break or a scrimmage, the coach can reach out to other players and take them aside. After practice coaches can find two players to also connect with. By the end of the day, the coach has meet with six players. Depending on the size of the team and how often teams practice, assistant coaches may also be utilized to connect with more players.
Benefits of the 222 Method
- Coaches who reach out are being very proactive in establishing lines of communication with players. Issues that might later escalate can be mitigated by this strategy. For example, players will be very clear on their roles and playing time so that the dreaded parent confrontation about playing time may be avoided.
- Coaches are also talking with the bench players who may not feel as connected to the team. No matter their role, everyone on the team has these meetings.
- Coaches are also developing the positive relationship with the players and these meetings may evolve into discussions about non-sport topics. This will help foster the mentor coach model that should be a goal of every coach.
- The 222 Method also fosters communication from players. They don’t have to wait until the coach initiates their weekly meeting. The goal would be for the players to feel comfortable enough in approaching the coach with issues because a relationship has been established and reinforced through these regular meetings.
This method takes a conscientious effort on the part of the coach. It is a simple, yet powerful tactic, in developing stronger relationships with your players.