101 Coaching Tips

101 Coaching Tips



It takes 20 years to become an overnight success. Successful coaches have by a combination of experience, skill, education and practice, developed ways and means of getting the best out themselves and their athletes.

Here are 101 Coaching Tips to help you achieve your coaching goals.

  1. Plan.
  2. Develop communication skills and never stop trying to improve them.
  3. Learn to effectively utilise the Internet, social media and email.
  4. Never stop learning. Learning is for life.
  5. Be open-minded. Never say, never.
  6. What you may lack in knowledge, make up for with enthusiasm, desire and passion.
  7. Be a role model for your athletes.
  8. Accept constructive criticism as a positive. Learn from mistakes, take steps to improve from the experience and move on.
  9. Allocate time every day for personal health and fitness.
  10. Keep a detailed diary and record work actually done by athletes not just what was planned to be done.
  11. Embrace effective change.
  12. Use sports science wisely. The art of coaching drives the science of performance.
  13. Seek out information – don’t wait for the “secret to success” to fall into your lap.
  14. Coach with your heart but don’t forget the basics. Secure adequate training facilities, keep good records, observe O.H. and S principles, and maintain a commitment to safety and equity. Having the “nuts and bolts” organised allows you to focus on what you do best – working with athletes.
  15. Believe in your athletes – they believe in you.
  16. Steal ideas from others sports (and improve on them).
  17. Strive to make yourself redundant – develop coach independent athletes.
  18. Listen with your eyes and watch with your ears.
  19. Attitude + application + ability = achievement.
  20. Coach the person not the athlete. Coach the person not the performance.
  21. Develop a network and support structure. Be a resource manager.
  22. Best, better, brilliant – there’s always room for improvement.
  23. What you believe will happen, will happen. What the mind can conceive it will achieve.
  24. Persistence pays – never give up.
  25. Learn basic business skills. Understand the basics of insurance. Be familiar with legal liability. Understand the basics of taxation and the tax system. Make coaching your business!
  26. Give an ounce of information and a ton of practice.
  27. Communicate – clearly, concisely, calmly, constructively, consistently and cleverly.
  28. Seek out a critical friend. They are you greatest asset.
  29. Help develop your sport not just your current athletes.
  30. Mix with successful people. Success breeds success.
  31. Delegate, delegate, delegate, give athletes, assistants, parents and officials responsibility for aspects of your (their) program.
  32. Enthusiasm, encouragement, energy = Excellence.
  33. Look for things to improve in yourself.
  34. Have fun. Life is short.
  35. It is easy to coach athletes when they are performing well. Do you have the ability to help athletes (and yourself) deal with the tough times?
  36. Focus on the long term even when trying to achieve in the short term.
  37. Contribute to the development of other coaches. You may learn from teaching and students are often the best teachers of all.
  38. Listen to your athletes.
  39. Develop peripheral vision – in your mind.
  40. Present information at coaching courses and workshops. Be willing to share.
  41. Treat athletes like customers – coaching is the ultimate in client service.
  42. Read journals from alternative industries and seek out principles that you can apply to sporting situations.
  43. Be flexible in your methods and approach.
  44. Embrace the principle “For the love of it, not the money in it!”
  45. Athletes develop confidence through competence. Nothing develops confidence like a thorough preparation.
  46. Constantly challenge yourself and your athletes.
  47. Create a safe, stimulating, interesting training environment where athletes enjoy coming to train.
  48. In preparing athletes: leave nothing to chance, nothing untested: don’t rely on luck: make your own!
  49. Subscribe to this Blog!
  50. Do your homework. Know the strengths and weakness of your athletes, yourself, your opposition. Know the standards, what are the world records, national records, state records, regional records, and club records, what are your goals?
  51. Look to help each athlete achieve their best, no matter what that level is. Not all athletes want to be the world champion.
  52. Be innovative. Be creative. Dare to be different.
  53. Try not to over-coach. You don’t need to talk ALL the time.
  54. Never lose confidence in yourself. You can do it!
  55. Encourage your athlete to have ownership of the program.
  56. Maintain good appearance, look like a professional.
  57. Technology is your ally not your enemy. Use it wisely.
  58. When the going gets tough, the tough get going. Mental toughness is still a key component of successful competition.
  59. Adopt the D.R.A.M.A. approach ” Do, Record, Analyse, Modify, Act”
  60. Confront problems calmly by talking directly with the athlete – don’t rely on rumour, relayed messages or other second hand methods of communication. If a message can be misinterpreted it already has been.
  61. Empathise not sympathise.
  62. Keep the reasons you coach at the forefront of your mind and your goals close to your heart.
  63. Desire: keep the dream alive, everyday. Motivation is a lifestyle not a one off event.
  64. What makes a great coach? Great athletes!
  65. Be firm and fair.
  66. Build your program around the five “E’s”: Equity, Excellence, Empathy and Empowerment.
  67. Share a joke, not sarcasm, just a funny joke, when appropriate.
  68. Field questions and throw back answers. Challenge athletes to discover the answers for themselves and to learn lessons.
  69. Observe, ponder, respond, be an observer of human behaviour.
  70. Share experiences willingly.
  71. Establish open and effective communication with all stakeholders, parents, athletes, administrators, officials and important others.
  72. When in doubt, pause and check it out. Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know”.
  73. Employ actions that minimise risk. The primary responsibility of all coaches is the safety of their athletes.
  74. Encourage your athlete recovering from injury by involving them in the program in some capacity. Everyone is needed and everyone belongs.
  75. Be aware of and carry out your legal responsibilities.
  76. Efficient coaches take responsibility for their own effectiveness.
  77. Self-reflection is your constant companion: be your own best critic but strive to be objective rather than self destructive.
  78. Recognise the contribution of others, players, parents, officials, assistants, facility maintenance staff, everyone enjoys being appreciated.
  79. Recognise, publicise, and reward. Praise in public, criticise in private.
  80. Lead from the front and support from the rear.
  81. The coach is the creator of positive experiences.
  82. Proper prior planning prevents pitifully poor performance.
  83. Praise and positive reinforcement are tools for the coach.
  84. Think about what you say before you say it. Then watch for reactions to your words before saying anything else.
  85. Body language replaces many words: Its not what you say but how you say it.
  86. Inspire your athletes to be all they can be, everyday and in all things.
  87. Coaching is a two-way process: The athlete feels but can’t see, the coach sees but can’t feel.
  88. Get to know something personal about your athletes. They are people who have chosen to play sport: not just sportspeople.
  89. Holistically challenge your athlete’s mental skills. They can be developed just like physical skills.
  90. Athletes listen when the coach listens to them.
  91. Know when to say no.
  92. Demonstrate, explain, demonstrate again, practice and give constructive feedback.
  93. Concentrate on the performance not the outcome.
  94. Process goals (how to achieve) should predominate over outcome goals (what to achieve).
  95. Facilitate motivation by allowing athletes to fulfil their goals in some way at every session.
  96. Coach your athletes to distinguish between attainable and unobtainable but to never stop dreaming of what’s possible.
  97. Buy a video and refine your filming and reviewing skills.
  98. Sports officials give your athletes the best opportunity to achieve the best result – work alongside them. Welcome them into your program and invite them to provide input.
  99. To coach well you’ll need to know the current interpretation of your sports rules and regulations.
  100. The coach has a great opportunity to easily expand their social circle, you’ll never be lonely.
  101. Last year’s programs produce last year’s results. Resist the temptation to coach by routine and habit.


(Why not add your own tips to the list and share them with me and all the Sports Brainers??)

Wayne Goldsmith


  • Ben Ettridge Posted February 4, 2011 1:26 pm

    Thanks Wayne,

    amazing list



    • Wayne Goldsmith Posted February 8, 2011 6:58 am

      Thanks Ben.

      I think most coaches could write this list – it is living it that is the issue.


  • Willsy Posted February 14, 2011 7:12 pm


    I would add,

    “Be brave; and if you can’t fake it. No one will know the difference.”


    • Wayne Goldsmith Posted February 18, 2011 8:48 am

      Thanks Willsy.

      More than one coach has got by on passion, desire and enthusiasm without having any real coaching knowledge….but if it was me, I would hire someone who loved what they did (and did what they loved) over someone who just delivered information any day.


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