Sometimes, as coaches, we under-focus on team morale. Morale can be a key contributor to a team’s success in terms of wins and losses, as it’s common for demoralized people to perform less than optimally- but the biggest reason why coaches should focus on building and maintaining high morale is the impact it has on the prognosis for our long-term relationships with the kids we coach. Based on that premise, here are some ideas to keep a team’s morale in good shape.
In coaching, winning matters. That’s becoming unpopular to say, but it does happen to be true, particularly at the highest levels of sports. Given this reality, it isn’t unreasonable for coaches to feel the need to control certain aspects of the team that directly impact winning. In fact, virtually every great coach who ever lived operated more in a dictatorship than a democracy. That having been said, though, it’s important to understand the difference between limited control based on strategy and an attempt at complete control based on compulsion. In the latter case, perhaps nothing kills morale quite like a control freak who tries to micro-manage every aspect of people’s lives.