Coaching is communication

Successful coaches are masters of communication, and often unsuccessful ones fail to succeed, not because they do not have knowledge about sports, but because of the scarce communication skills. Sports psychologists stressed that effective communication is key to success of each team, organization and their members. It affects attitudes, motivation, expectations, satisfaction, team cohesion, team performance, training efficiency, feedback principles and support, conflict resolution skills and overall behavior. Ability to be effective expressionists of thoughts, feelings and needs as well as the ability to understand thoughts, feelings, the ideas and needs of others are central to good communication.

As coaches you must be able to communicate effectively in countless situations such as conversation with irritated parents, curious journalists, an excited athlete who just "earned" another ejection, missed the easy shot or received a serious injustice by a ref who by the wrong decision damaged your team, dissatisfied members of the board, members of professional team, their colleagues, fans and others. Efficient communication is crucial for successful coaching, as well as for all other aspects of our lives - marriage, parenting, and professional careers. To be able to elaborate more about communication in sports, it is necessary to have the information on the basics of the communication process.

Communication is a process, and some say the art of sending, relaying and exchanging messages (information, thoughts, feelings, attitudes) through speech, writing, non-verbal cues, or other language forms. Communication is a dynamic process that involves sending, receiving (encrypting) and interpreting (deciphering) messages through different sensor channels. Goal of the sender of the message is that the listener receives the message and understands it properly. However, communication does not always run smooth, because the messages are often not understood in a way that fits the intention of the sender. It can cause numerous problems, misunderstandings and communication disruptions.

If sending and receiving messages represents the first dimension of communication, the other refers to the nature of the communication and the content of the message.

Messages can be verbal and non-verbal. Every message consists of a verbal part, a visual impression and a tone of voice that is spoken. Research shows that the visual part of the message that a listener receives by looking at a person who is presenting the message remains in the memory the most. Most people, (60% of them) receive information visually, 20% by listening and 20% by moving and touching. Experts believe that over 70% of the communication is non-verbal among people (gestures, movements, facial expressions, tone of voice and body) about 7% of it goes to verbal messages, 38% in the way (voice tone) of the communication, and 55% on non-verbal gestures. Nonverbal communication is critical in sending and receiving message. These messages are less under conscious control, they are more difficult to hide, so they can have a greater meaning than words.

Communication takes place in two ways: interpersonal and intrapersonal. It's usual when we talk about communication, we mean the interpersonal communication that involves at least two persons or are happening inside or between groups. Sender with his message wants to influence one or more recipients, to challenge certain feelings, behaviors or attitudes. Intrapersonal Communication represents the communication we have with ourselves (when we think we communicate with ourselves). We often talk to ourselves, and this inner dialogue ("self-talk") is very important. The beginner athletes considerably ease the performance in the initial learning phase, because it serves as a kind of self-guidance and guiding itself through elements of the new skill. Therefore, inner speech can have a negative impact if it is negative, discouraging, and directed to the expectation or failure. In any case, intrapersonal communication may have strong positive or negative impact on the motivation of each person.