An ever increasing skill required for coaches is to be a good communicator. Here are some tips to help you deliver your pre-game and half-time talks.
1. Prepare your notes
It is important to know what you are going to talk about before starting your pre-game or half-time talk, otherwise it can quickly turn into a ramble.
It is also good to link the past, present, and future. I.e. “at training we worked on….” or “before the game we spoke about…”
2. Use illustrations
Players have different learning styles, while some are auditory learners, others are visual learners and will need to see a diagram in order to understand your message more clearly.
If you are only communicating by using words, there are players on your team that will find it hard to understand your message.
Young players also tend to understand illustrations more than instructions, it is important to also paint a picture of the message you are communicating.
If you have access to a whiteboard or tactics board, use it to illustrate your message.
3. Keep it simple & engage your players
Avoid information overload!
Stick to 3-4 main points and reinforce them with the use of diagrams and questions.
Ask your players questions to make sure they understand your points, let them answer the question to tell you what you already know.
If you cover three or four main points twice, and reinforce the learning, your players will have much more of a chance to remember them, rather than covering a large number of points only once.
4. Organise your environment
It is important to remove any barriers to communication, such as sunglasses or physical obstacles. You will notice in the above video the first thing the coach does is remove his sunglasses.
For younger players it is good to be at their level when communicating, which may mean sitting down among them, rather than standing over them.
It is also good to organise your players seating according to their positions i.e. the defenders all sit together. This way you know you address your teaching points to a specific group of players with their full attention.
5. Key Timings
The first 5 minutes of the half-time break should be used to clarify your thoughts to identify your key messages, consult with your assistant coach and consider your opponents likely response to the 1st half performance.
Check the well being of your players, are they carrying any injuries? Take a few minutes to get your players settled and adjust your organisation. It is good to take to settle so your players and your team talk is not too emotionally driven and you are able to communicate effectively.
The second five minutes is spent on the delivery of your information. Stick to 3-4 main points, illustrate, ask your players questions to reinforce learning, and give tasks for the second half.