Carroll County Times

Communication, as always, is key

When we had a little bit of spare time, my wife and I had the pleasure of working with a group at our church that worked with young engaged couples to help them prepare for the trials and tribulations of a successful marriage.

There were couples that discussed finances, some marital relations, others about keeping prayer in your marriage, and we were the ones responsible for discussing communication in your marriage.


Anyone that knows us would think that's kind of ironic as they know that we really don't talk to each other all that much. But it doesn't mean we don't communicate.

Ask us at any time about who's taking the kid to practice, who's picking up the other one from work, who's stopping home to let the dogs out, and what we're having for dinner and most of the time we'll be on the same page.


And of course, we communicate often about what new projects she has in mind for the boys and me.

Communication in sports is one of the most underrated elements in a successful sport team. Even in games that are considered individual sports like golf, boxing, swimming, and many Olympic type events communication with your trainer, with your referee, and with your opponent remains critical.

At the high school level, we have meetings before the season starts to lay out the superintendent of athletics' expectations of each of us as coaches and our programs for the coming season. Coaches may meet with their principals and athletic directors for more specific expectations.

At the annual parents meeting night, the parents and players are given the same expectations by the specific school's administration and then each team has a meeting to communicate expectation of and by the coaching staff.

In my first year coaching the high school girls, I learned a trick from my new coaching partner that I have used in every sport since then to communicate to the parents and the players. Each week they will each receive an email with what they can expect for the coming week including times and locations of voluntary fitness sessions, drop-in open fields, or 7 on 7 league games during the summer season and carry all of the way through to the last week of the season which includes practice times, times and location of upcoming games and the departure time of the bus for away games.

This is an invaluable tool that I would highly recommend to each new and experienced coach that mitigates so much confusion and disseminates the information in an efficient and effective manner.

Coaches need to be able to communicate not only to the parents, but more importantly to the players, on a number of fronts. They need to establish a culture under which the players will operate at practice, in games, at home, on the road, on the bus, and in the classroom. They need to be able to lay out their vision for the team and its expectations for the year, to discuss their system of play and how each player may fill their own role in the grand scheme of things, to counsel players who are struggling on or off the field, and to mentor others to provide opportunities for them through sports that they may not get otherwise.

We need to communicate to or colleagues in the coaching world about challenges and successes we each face. By establishing a friendly, yet competitive relationship with your opponents, you can model the behavior on how you can compete fiercely on the field but still have a respectful, if not friendly relationship once the game is over, something many politicians, and frankly some parents, can learn from as well. Our county in particular has many kids playing against one another because they go to different high schools but have grown up playing in the same local rec and club sports programs. One of parts of coaching sports that I enjoy is watching the interaction of players from relationships they've developed off the field — either through playing on club teams or regional teams together, competing with or against each other in other sports, or through meeting at a local YoungLife or FCA gathering.


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We also need to communicate to other coaches in our school or in our club to make sure we are all operating within the same guidelines and that we are addressing any issues that may come up at the program or club level.

We can rely on each other's experience to help develop solutions to any operational situations that may arise.

We are an interactive species, we're meant to communicate, however you choose to do it.

Psychologist and author Rollo May once said, "Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing."

Sounds to me like he's describing what's essential in building "team chemistry."