At Club Estudiantes, coaches placed a strong emphasis on building trust with their players and within their teams. This is because trust is a vital component in the success of any team, and it is especially important in the high-pressure environment of competitive sports. I saw coaches use a variety of strategies to build an environment that helped cultivate trust.
Communication: One of the approaches used to building with their players at Club Estudiantes was through open and honest communication. Coaches made a point to regularly communicate with their players and to listen to their concerns and feedback. This helped to create a sense of mutual respect and understanding between the coach and the players. I was brought up to listen to coaches and but at Estu we wanted to the communication to be a two way street.
Empathy: Anither word you hear a lot these days is empathy? Not so common in the world of basketball though! At Estu we also prioritised empathy when working with players. We coaches made an effort to understand the challenges and pressures that their players are facing, both on and off the court. This helped to create a sense of connection and support within the team. We asked how players were doing, how their classes were going etc. we knew the players well on and off court. This helped us put ourselves in the players shoes especially when times got tough.
Consistency: Consistency is key when it comes to building trust. It is a challenge, no doubt but we tried to be consistent in our approach to coaching and in our interactions with players. We set clear expectations and held the players accountable to those expectations, which helps to create a sense of stability and trust within the team. The challenges appeared when emotions appear both ours and the players but we worked hard to reset, communicate and get back on track.
Positive reinforcement: Right out of a teachers or parenting book we also used positive reinforcement to build trust with their players. We made a point to recognise and celebrate their players’ successes and to provide encouragement and support when they are struggling. A perfect example for a club that focuses on development would be praising and applauding the attempt of a skill or tactic we want to see whether it was successful or now. This sent the message to players that we were ok with the mistake/miss because they were playing the right way. This helped to create a positive team culture where players feel valued and supported.
Team-building activities: Finally, at Estu we coaches prioritised team-building activities as a way to build trust within the team. These included team dinners, off-court activities, and other bonding experiences. By creating opportunities for players and coaches to connect with one another on a personal level, we were able to foster a sense of camaraderie and trust within the team.
In sum, by prioritising these strategies, we were able to create a positive team culture where players and coaches felt supported, valued, and connected to one another. This, in turn, led to greater success on the court and a more cohesive team overall.