Coaching Association of Canada

Ram Nayyar, ChPC - Badminton

Incorporating effective communications in training

The ability of a coach to effectively communicate with their athletes is essential. Not only is it necessary to properly communicate with them in order to assure good program logistics and administration, but also so that, day-to-day and practice-to-practice, athletes can comprehend exactly what the coaches expect. Ram Nayyar, ChPC, an NCCP Certified Level 5 badminton coach explains one way of integrating effective communication into training.

It is important to teach athletes in the Learn to Train and Train to Train stages of development to self-evaluate their performances and their learning. We must constantly develop our practice plans so that we can communicate the following 3-phase process: Having, doing, and seeing.

  1. “Having” – a goal in mind. A well developed and verbalized goal facilitates the task of identifying the drills needed in phase 2.
  2. “Doing” – the required drills related to the goal. To ensure that the athletes reflect on their drills, these three similar questions can be asked:
    • “What are the important points of the drill?”
    • “Do you think this drill is important?”
    • “Why do you think this drill is important?”
  3. “Seeing” – the improvements in the related techniques. Using the previous reflection questions, athletes will be able to think about the technical improvements, and see themselves performing at a higher level with the outcome of a better result in mind.

Only an athlete that is seeing their improvements can self-evaluate their performance, and the whole process is only possible after having identified and effectively communicated the goal. A coach’s ability to communicate effectively with their athletes isn’t a divine gift. Coaches go through three phases of development dependent on their roles, their effectiveness in communicating, and the objective of the training.

  • The instructor: Characterized by direct communication with the athlete aimed at development and technical correction.
  • The facilitator: Characterized by more open communication between the athlete and coach. Consequently, the athlete begins to become conscious of their performance and how they can affect it.
  • The mentor: Characterized by athlete-initiated communications. The athlete is often seeking the feedback of a particular coach. The coach looks to improve the techniques in a very precise manner by collecting as much information from the athlete as possible.

The role of the coach is much like that of the Sherpa – they must guide, make recommendations, and leave the final decision up to the athlete. The better the coach engages in communications to guide and make recommendations, the more the athlete will be comfortable with their own decision. Just like quality NCCP training, engaging in planned and purposeful communication is a good tool to ensure, as a coach, you remain focused on athlete learning and development.