What makes an elite coach?

Almost since I started this blog I have been asking questions about the characteristics, traits, talents and skills of coaches, and offering my opinions as well as those published by others. In the most recent USOC Olympic Coach E-magazine, an article titled “Expert Coaches of High Performance Athletes” offers four characteristics:

Elite coaches tend to be life-long learners, who approach almost everything with an open mind. They are continually looking for an edge that can help their athletes or themselves improve. Many are voracious readers with a wide variety of interests…

Elite coaches are problem solvers. They will search for answers to problems. Many have developed networks of ‘service providers’ who can help them when they have issues about which way to take something.

They are leaders. The leadership skills of elite coaches are impressive. We sometimes forget that they are not just coaching and directing athletes, they are also managing a large and varied staff, a budget and different logistics.

They can develop and sustain relationships. The relationship between an elite coach and the elite athlete is fascinating…The relationships that work best, in my opinion, are those in which the coach has become the guide. The athlete is self-reliant, but needs the coach to offer advice and suggestions and to be the eyes and ears of the performance…It is a true partnership working toward one goal.

By Brian McCormick, PhD
Coach/Clinician, Brian McCormick Basketball
Author, Cross Over: The New Model of Youth Basketball Development
Director of Coaching, Playmakers Basketball Development League

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