Communicating is a survival action. It’s the cornerstone we base our development and growth. HOW we communicate is going to make the difference between the QUANTITY and QUALITY.
How do you communicate with your goalkeepers?
As coaches, we need to meet the basic need of connecting with our goalkeepers everyday. Getting an internal cohesion and stablishing a range of emotional bonds is part of that quality we always want to offer in our training sessions. This way, the personal relationships we create and how we live together with them show greatly the internal communicative quality that there is in the group.
All these concepts seem very easy and obvious. However, there are still too many gaps and clichés, such as:
- The goalkeeping coach speaks ex cathedra while the goalkeepers “seem” to listen to.
We put seem in between quotation marks because…
How many times have we had that feeling? Have we ever thought about it? Are we that kind of coach that talks with full authority and offer advise without listening to what the rest have to say? Are we authoritarian and imposing coaches?
And a very basic thought to clarify the previous reflections is:
How do we like to be treated? How do we like to feel when we have a problem or conflict? How do we like someone else makes us understand something we didn’t use to believe?
From kindness, cordiality, agreement… Because goalkeepers and goalkeeping coaches have to simulate “assemblies” where the goalkeeper coach must be determined, but at the same time, must rely on dialogue to seek the goalkeepers understanding and so, achieving their collaboration.
It is at this point where we find the need for creating a friendly atmosphere!
There is no chance of talking about performance or training in uncomfortable or hostile atmospheres. How many times have we found ourselves in front of apathetic, shy, on the defensive goalkeepers…? Have we ever thought about the reasons of that situation/atmosphere?
The goalkeepers, ourselves… show up at coaching time, we train, and we leave. But, how about all we have lived before? How about the way we learnt to live and how we were educated? A key factor to keep in mind in order to our method/model reaches and leaves a mark on the goalkeepers is to KNOW THEM. And this is also coaching. And we train feeding those communication nets we were talking about earlier. We invite dialogue, non-judgmental, without exposing anyone, just talking or giving opinions without any consequences or taking its toll on anyone.
Two-way communication! The roles of speaker and listener are constantly interchanging.
Now, we’re going to try to give you some action plan, so this post can be useful, and you can get started today to create or improve that important atmosphere, so your method/model makes more belonging sense:
- Remember that it’s not what you say the most important thing, but how the other understands. The aim is to make the receiver understand what the speaker wants to say. So, remember: Who am I speaking for?
- As goalkeeping coaches, we do not express ourselves with words only. We also can do it without them. How? If you are expressive, you won’t need too much words. And when we talk about expressivity, we don’t mean abrupt gestures, but passing on emotions from logic and expressivity. From the heart.
- HOW you say something is most important than what you say. Approving, smiling, nodding… reinforce confidence and they are always nice details.
- Look your goalkeepers in the eye when talking to them. But don’t do it challenging them, since when you try to solve a conflict, looking them in the eye is enough to make them take it personally.
- Use physical contact. Especially in moving moments when they could need to feel loved, cared or simply understood.
- Try to LISTEN and respect the SILENCE. Is it awkward? Yes, it is, but it makes a difference.
Because of our culture, and the way we were educated, we assume that giving instructions is something mandatory, corrective, authoritarian… And it’s nothing about that. It’s about being assertive, building understanding between two o more people, talking, sending messages, making things easy, talking about any issue spontaneously, just in the moment it comes up. The aim is to make our goalkeepers understand and make ourselves understandable, trying to convince the other.