To Be or Not to Be

The intensity and emotion of a close competition can easily carry over into post-game discussions. It is often difficult for coaches to stop trying to manage the game after it is over. However, post-game conversations are not a part of the game. After all, nothing that is said after a game can affect its outcome. Conversations after a game have much more impact on the next practice or the next game. With that in mind, here are five suggestions for coaches for post-game conversations with players and parents:

  1. Be patient. There will be plenty of time to address mistakes. Make a list of mistakes made during the game and then set it aside for review before planning the next practice or game.
  2. Be positive. Allow the players to celebrate their good plays so that they continue to build their inner desire to improve.
  3. Be communicative. Don’t shy away from players or parents after a loss any more than after a win. Changing parental interactions based on the outcome will leave parents assuming the worst about their child or the team.
  4. Be objective. Before looking to player mistakes, first look to see if there were other things that could have been done better in preparation or motivation.
  5. Be candid. If you made a mistake during the game, don’t be afraid to admit it. If coaches are honest about their mistakes, players are more likely to be honest about theirs.

Parents and players take their cues from the coach. A compliment helps reassure parents of their child’s potential and keeps them from focusing too much on their own judgments. It can even help shape parental conversations in the car on the way home. Good post-game conversations can do more to bring a team together than any conversation before a game.

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