For Coaches
It's a New Year: Time for coaches and parents to reflect and evaluate

It's a New Year: Time for coaches and parents to reflect and evaluate


By Sara Robinson, M.A.

As a coach and a parent you may feel that you often do the same things over and over again.

Maybe you tell your own kids day in and day out to clean their room or remind them to brush their teeth. Perhaps at practice you yell “hustle” more times than you would like to, or you have to remind the entire team that it’s everyone’s responsibility to pick up equipment after practice. Maybe you even find yourself running practice the same way day in and day out because that’s what you’re used to.

We all have habits that have been with us for quite a while (sometimes many, many years), and we often don’t stop to evaluate those habits and determine if they’re still working for us.

The start of the year is a great time to reflect and evaluate, even if you’re mid-season.

Take a few minutes to answer the following questions:

  1. When you think about how practices are run, what do you do fairly consistently? What do you say fairly consistently?
    1. How effective are these behaviors and comments at accomplishing what you want?

  1. When it comes time to compete, what do your athletes know you will do or say?
    1. How do your athletes respond to these actions and comments?

  1. What are your goals for this season or year?
    1. What are you doing to help yourself and your athletes get there?
    2. What might you be doing that is holding you (and others) back from these goals?

  1. If you asked others around you (significant others, fellow coaches and friends):
    1. What would they say are your strengths?
    2. What would they point out as areas to work on?

It might be hard to answer these questions honestly, but in doing so you may see that you have many positive habits, and a few that don’t serve you well.

Take the time this year to make a commitment to yourself and those you work with to adjust some of your habits and take a new approach to how you coach, parent and live. You may notice that those around you respond differently as well, helping to create more enjoyable and rewarding experiences for everyone.

Sara Robinson is a Mental Skills Coach with a Master’s Degree in Sport Psychology. She resides in the Bay Area of California but works with athletes and coaches all over the country to help improve their mental skills, communication habits, and increase their enjoyment in sport. For more information, visit her website:

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