I always want my team playing with confidence. To get there, I want them to know that I believe in them. Confidence is a challenging attribute to coach, because the nature of coaching is that you are correcting mistakes and trying to eliminate the wrong behavior. It’s easy to lose sight of coaching them to be confident.
I’ve always felt your composure as a head coach gives your team confidence and reinforces the fact that you believe in them. When your team sees you react – especially with great emotion – it naturally rattles their confidence. When you don’t react to everything that happens, whether it is good or bad, you reinforce the idea that everything is okay. That you are confident in your team, and that you believe in them.
I’ve always wondered if we would coach differently if we didn’t play the games in front of a public audience. If there was no one in the gym watching, would the reactions from the head coaches be the same? Coaching is intense and the pressure is usually pretty high, but so much of the reaction you see doesn’t necessarily look like a reaction to coach the behavior of the team. It looks like a reaction meant to let everyone in the building know that the head coach is in control, and the head coach isn’t going to accept that bad pass or missed assignment. It looks like the coach thinks the mistakes are almost a personal attack. When you react really emotionally to mistakes as a head coach, it’s sure to have a negative impact on the mentality of your players.
Even if you react with great emotion when something positive happens for your team, you are inherently sending a message that you didn’t expect it. And when you. react with great emotion, you can expect great emotion from your team. They are going to follow your lead. Now there are certainly times where your team may need some emotion and you have to react accordingly. But if you consistently react with emotion your team is going to get a strong message, one way or another.
Think about the confidence of your team when you try and control the emotions of the game. I’ve always feared a composed team, a team that knows it is prepared and expects to be successful. The best teams are the ones that are used to winning and expect the positive results that come with it.
Your composure as a head coach goes along way towards maintaining a winning mentality with your team. Keep your composure and they will know that you believe in them and continue to play with confidence.