5 essential coaching skills we use at our brother/sister summer campNovember 17, 2015
I’ve always been a sports lover. Whether it was growing up playing soccer, or golf as an adult, or more recently learning to snowboard and ice climb last winter, sports have always been my passion. And while I love being active I certainly do not need an excuse to watch any and all sports on TV or go to a live event. My love of sports isn’t just because of the extraordinary physical feats that athletes at the highest level perform week in week out, but also the effective coaching techniques and mental approach that often determines which will be the most successful teams.
Just last week, while watching what would be the final game of the World Series, I was fascinated with Matt Harvey’s reaction to be taken out of the game. Harvey was so focused on pitching a hitless game and being the hero of hour that he neglected what was best for his team. It became evident that the manager either was not prepared to stand by his convictions, or was afraid to upset his star pitcher and put the closer on the mound to hopefully extend the World Series. As we all know the rest is history.
Our brother/sister summer camp’s head counselor David Walsh coaching one of our newest campers
As someone who has coached sports most of my adult life, I’ve spent a lot of time this week comparing the Mets loss in the World Series to those decisions made by renowned coaches such like Phil Jackson, Sir Alex Ferguson & John Wooden; who all have won many, many titles over the years. Their styles may differ, but after much research I find that all have one similar trait in how they manage and communicate with the individuals on their teams. Each of these incredible coaches understands how each person on their team reacts to feedback, what motivates each player, and has the ability to get everyone in the group to work to work together in a supportive and encouraging environment. That one crucial concept – how quality coaches build an environment of effective communication – can be broken down into 5 smaller actions:
Here are 5 essential skills for successful coaching:
- Listening with curiosity
- Absorbing what you hear
- Reflecting with accuracy
- Questioning for exploration and improvement
- Providing Feedback for Development
This is how these coaches are able to create such amazing outcomes. It is also these traits that make for the most successful counselors, teachers and coaches at Camps Kenwood and Evergreen, and we are lucky enough to have a camp filled with these personalities.
My primary role in our brother/sister summer camp’s leadership team is to hire and train the staff, so finding professionals who know how to create this dynamic with our campers is crucial. I spend almost my entire year traveling the globe to find just the right candidate for each coaching and teaching position. Our staff training is intense and rigorous, but I end up seeing the fruits of it each day of the summer. So many times at camp over the course of our 7 week season, I see counselors and coaches with an arm around a camper offering support or giving another camper very clear expectations when it comes to performance and participation.
What we see over and over again are campers coming together to create strong teams with a foundation of positive reinforcement, and where failure generates moments of support, a push for self-improvement, and a desire for campers to work harder than they did in the previous activity or period.