Who do you talk to in practice?

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Name of blog Coach Bob Walsh's Blog
Blog author Bob Walsh
Blog post date 2013/02/05
Blog URL http://blog.coachbobwalsh.com/2013/02/05/who-you-talk-to.aspx
Post Topic

Who You Talk To?

Have you ever thought about who you talk to the most during a practice? Which players hear you say their name the most? Who gets the most criticism, who gets the most praise? It would be an interesting study to do, to capture say a week's worth of practices on film and have someone chart how many times you address each player. To find out who you talk to the most, who you say more positive things to and who you say more negative things to.

My sense is that a mistake we make as coaches is we spend the majority of time talking to the guys who are screwing things up. The players who aren't as good, not as focused, not as tough. These are the guys we notice. It's easy to take for granted the guys who show up and do what they are supposed to every day. But I've learned if you do take them for granted, their production will slip.

It's a difficult challenge as a coach to keep up a constant dialogue with everyone of your players. Each of them likes the individual attention and likes to know that what they are doing is being noticed. Most of the time when I write a note on my practice plan to talk with a player it's about someone who is doing something wrong. I have to remind myself to make sure I talk to the guys who are doing things right.

Over time I've noticed that the guys that you know you can count on can flat line. Think about the solid, smart, quiet, tough kid who just shows up every day and does what he's supposed to. He may not be a great player, but he's a valuable role guy who gets some minutes in the rotation. He's really easy to overlook because you know you don't have to worry about him. And you also don't really expect much out of him. But over time you'll probably notice that he's not being as productive as he used to be. Pay a little more attention to him, have a conversation with him, even yell at him. Sometimes I've noticed those guys will respond to being yelled at, because they know it means you expect more out of them. They gain confidence knowing that you want more from them than just showing up and being solid.

Pay attention to who you talk to. Don't spend all of your time talking to the guys who are screwing up. Like I said, keeping up a dialogue with everyone of your players can be hard to do. But try spending less time on the guys who are screwing up and more time on the guys doing the right thing. If you spend a little time recognizing the guys you know you can count on you'll get more out of them.