1. You stink.
Literally. If your antiperspirant isn’t getting the job done (maybe you forgot to use some that day) or you splashed on a bit too much aftershave or perfume, your players are more worried about getting away from you than listening to you.
2. Your breath stinks.
Seriously, if your breath stinks, your players are figuring out the best way to dodge the stench secreted by every word. They probably are also holding their breath. If they turn red, it’s likely not from what you are saying, but they can’t breathe. Chew some gum.
3. You don’t dress your age.
If you are wearing the same fluorescent animal print spandex at practice as your players (especially if you are a male), they will not look up to you as a coach. Whatever it is you are saying, they will not believe you are credible.
4. You don’t act your age.
Once you become a coach, you are no longer cool. Don’t try to impress players by knowing the lyrics to every Pink and Justin Beiber song. You’re not “Too school for cool”. Act your age.
5. You’re a “touchy” coach.
Players have their personal space. Obviously inappropriate touching is never acceptable, but explanation by touching a part of the leg, holding on to an arm, or putting a hand on a back can all make a player feel uncomfortable. They won’t hear you. Let them have their space.
6. You hate technology.
Face it. Texting is here. Your players are going to communicate by text. Soon enough Apple’s iPhone 6 will enable players to play volleyball and text at the same time. If you fight the communication methods of your players (especially if you verbally exclaim “they text each other when they are at the same table!), they may never hear you.
7. You ramble.
Reread point reason #6 above. Texting, like Twitter, limits the number of words you can use. Talk in “Twitterese”. Short and simple points. Then remind players of these short and simple points throughout a practice, tournament, etc.
8. You are noise.
Barking out many commands over-and-over through practice, such as “Reach high”, “Feet to the ball”, “Swing fast”, etc. does not get heard. The words out of your mouth essentially become “crowd noise”, a background noise that players tune out. Instead, take a player aside for a Twitterese moment to address a particular point.
9. You’re the “Bad” coach
Continual negative reinforcement doesn’t cut it anymore. If you berate a kid one time, they WILL hear that, but then they won’t hear anything further. If you are always telling the player what is wrong, they will only remember what they are doing wrong. Build on their strengths to teach the negative. Be positive.
10. You don’t listen
Give your players credit for their intellect, no matter the age. You might be surprised at how smart they are. Genuinely listen (not just hear, but listen) to what they have to say. The art of coaching is guiding players using their frame of reference.