What matters most in coaching?

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If I were writing this 30 or 40 years ago it would have been a very different blog post. I would have focused on technical knowledge, the importance of understanding training theory and the nuances of periodization. Don’t get me wrong all of that is important if you want to be a good coach, but if you want to be a great coach there is more to it than that. The technical part can be learned fairly easily through study, observation and practice. The difference makers are what some people would call the intangibles, the social and emotional intelligence that allows you to connect with you athletes, your colleagues, administrators and parents on another level. Simply put it is mastery of communication skills. All the knowledge in the world is for naught if you can’t communicate it. We coach people, people who respond to coaches who show they care about them as people. It is the little things that count, a smile, a pat on the back, an admonition to try harder or simply the tone of voice and body language when making a correction. I wish I would have figured this out earlier in my career. I can’t help but think about how much more effective I could have been as a coach and happier as a person. Learn from my mistakes, work on the intangibles raise your level of emotional and social intelligence to new heights, hone your communication skills to a fine edge and you will be the best coach you can be. That is all we can ask.

Vern Gambetta

Vern Gambetta

Director at Gambetta Sports Training Systems
Vern is the Director of Gambetta Sports Training Systems. He has been the a conditioning coach for several MLS teams as well as the conditioning consultant to the US Men's World Cup Soccer team. Vern is the former Director of Conditioning for the Chicago White Sox and New York Mets. He has lectured and conducted clinics in Canada, Japan, Australia and Europe and has authored six books and over one hundred articles related to coaching and sport performance in a variety of sports. He has a BA in teaching with a coaching minor and an MA in Education with an emphasis in physical education from Stanford University.
Vern Gambetta

@coachgambetta

Athletic Development Coach & Consultant. Founder of GAIN Network. Proud dad. Love to read everything.
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Vern Gambetta

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