After having coached basketball for an extended period of time, I’ve come to learn many of the most effective strategies necessary for sufficiently teaching your athletes, and pushing them to reach their full potential. The very basic building blocks of character are among some of the most important if you are to be a successful coach, and communication is is a crucial part of that foundation.

Possessing strong personal values and being able to apply them in the world of sports is something that can separate a good coach from a great one. Aside from coaching with leadership, engagement, and creativity, the most fundamental quality a coach must have is clear communication skills. This can often seem like a secondary trait when focusing on other aspects of your coaching strategies, but it is at the root of them all.

It can be extremely challenging bringing together anywhere from 10 to 20 student athletes as one cohesive unit, but understanding the language necessary to do just that is an enormous step forward, the first of which is being able to clearly communicate your style of play. Once there is a mutual understanding between you and your players, only then can you begin to teach and improve their basketball skills.

Consider all the times in which communication plays a key role in coaching your team. Motivational speeches before a game, breaking down film and analyzing opponents’ styles of play, mid-game adjustments, and recruiting are just a few of the many instances in which a coach’s communication skills play a vital role. Poor communication skills in any of these examples will often result in the athletes not fully understanding the topic, leading to them being unable to execute the knowledge and drills necessary.

A basketball coach that values success over simply winning games is one that is destined for greatness. Obviously, wins are the result of great coaching, but measuring your success purely on your number of wins and losses is foolish. Coherent communication skills that lead to motivating your players and staff while pushing them to reach their full potentials are what truly defines a successful basketball coach, or coach in any sport for that matter.