3 Simple Ideas To Build Trust With Your Players In The First Week

Getting to know your players and their backgrounds can be quite difficult and a long process, but that’s how all strong relationships start out. Imagine your new coach walking down to the field/court on the first practice and changing everything about you on the first day that has given you success in the past. We all have areas we need to work on, but we are all different as well and we find success in different ways. A good coach will give it time for their new players to become comfortable with them before asking them to change things or try something new. There is a level of trust that needs to be built between player and coach before you can expect them to want to listen and take what you say serious. Just as much as you don’t know the players background, they don’t know the coaches either. To get off to a great start of the season, coaches must spend time building a relationship and establishing trust with each player. Here are 3 ideas to help build trust and respect amongst players and coaches.

  1. Player-Coach Meetings

Use the first week scheduling times to meet with each player, it will go a long ways and they will respect you more. Spend the meeting time getting to know each players strengthens and weakness on the field while also allowing the player to open up about other things in life such as school, work, and family. Give the players the floor to tell their story. This will allow the player to feel comfortable to speak with you in the future. As a coach, it’s just as important for you to tell them your story also. You can either talk to each individual player in the meeting and tell them your story or you can tell the team as a whole. Ultimately, players need to know that coaches are there to help them succeed, and players need to know they can talk with their coach comfortably.

2. Team Fun Night

Schedule a night in the first week that the team (player and coaches only) can get together and have fun. When I was in college we tried this approach and it really helped establish relationships from Day 1. We ended up going 40–19 that year with lots of success in what I consider the best team I have ever been a part of, on and off the field. None-the-less, Having team bonding nights puts everyone on the same playing field and it allows coaches and players to get to know each other outside of sport. It’s an open door into discovering the personalities of each player when they don’t have the uniform on. Knowing personalities will allow coaches to understand each player better and how to interact with them.

3. Patience: Let them have fun

Let the players do their thing the first week. As a coach, you can learn a lot
by just watching and listening. Give them time to fall into place and feel comfortable. Once players start to feel comfortable they will begin to trust what you are saying and truly believe you have their best interest in mind. Last thing a player wants is a coach trying to change what they do on the first practice of the year. Unless you have credibility built up or you have a solid reason as to why you want them to change something right away, it can be hard to get through to them.

Player-Coach relationships are key to success on the field and they can build into friendships if you allow them too. Earning a players trust can be difficult but it’s definitely worth the success in the long run. Take the time to understand what makes each player great, it will only make your job easier. Luckily, I have always been quick at understanding people and personalities. It usually only takes a week or so (for me) to see the potential impact a player can have on a team. It may take longer for other coaches, but whatever that time is, take it.


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