- Get to know the athlete on a personal level, find out what makes them tick. If you see a normally high effort guy dogging it during practice, pull him aside and see what’s on his mind.
- Find out why they play the sport in the first place, are they playing for glory and girls, are they hoping on getting into a division I school, or do their parents force them to play?
- Treat them as an adult, do not talk down to them and make them feel like an equal, pull down all the barriers between you and the player so that they can feel comfortable with you.
- In the off-season, make sure you leave a line of communication open so that the player can come to you if they have a problem, and also so that you can reach out to them and see how they are doing. When a player graduates and moves on, shoot them an email once in a while to see how they are doing.
- Be honest with them, nobody likes a liar, and the more straightforward you are with a player the more they will come to respect you not only as a coach but as a person.
- Keep the athletes in the loop, explain to them why you want them to run a certain distance or do a new drill. Have a transparent relationship with your athletes so that they do not think that you are withholding information and/or having them do things that do not necessarily have a reason.