Coaches Corner: Building Trust With Your Athletes

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Trust is built over time. A coach can’t sit down with a player and say, “I need you to trust me” and have it be done. Trust is built on actions, follow-through, and honesty. I talked to Christy Johnson-Lynch, the head volleyball coach at Iowa State University, about how she manages to have great relationships with her players.

3 tips to build trust with your athletes

Formally.  It’s a given that you should have individual meetings with your players. I usually meet with my players at the beginning, middle, and end of the season.

Informally.  Maybe some days you grab a player after practice. Or you send someone a text and tell them they did a good job. Or maybe you’re able to eat at the student dining hall and chat casually with your players in that setting.

Be authentic. When I introduced Johnson-Lynch, I commented on her humble nature. If I didn’t know her and I hadn’t seen her incredible success, I’d be skeptical that someone with her temperament could win in big-time athletics. I asked her how she handles competing against much more “in your face” coaches and she said she’s learned that confidence comes in different shapes and she just needs to be herself. Clearly it’s working for her!

These three tips are great starting points for any coach…be yourself and build relationships.

Join me in a series of interviews with successful coaches.  I believe what we learn from our coaching peers can be applied to our teams, our recruiting efforts, and how we behave as professionals. These interviews will be less Q & A and much more philosophical in nature, keep coming back to see who I’m talking to and what they’ve got to say!