Over the course of my career I’ve encountered players who were “coachable” and I’ve also coached several players with the label that nobody wants- “uncoachable.” One thing that I’ve found to be true, is that the players who make the most meaningful contributions to their teams are the ones who are the most coachable. Sure there are “talented” players who can help win games from time to time. But, a talented player who isn’t coachable ends up keeping his team from reaching its potential.
There are many positives associated with being coachable. A coachable player makes more meaningful contributions to his team. He helps build better team chemistry, which fosters better team performance. He also deals with less stress, accelerates his learning, and performs better individually.
What exactly is a coachable player? Well, a coachable player has a great work ethic. He has a positive attitude, and is respectful of his coaches and teammates. He strives to be the best player he can be, while understanding that team success comes before personal glory. He is able to take constructive criticism and use it to improve his game.
My Top 5 Characteristics of a Coachable Player are listed below:
Believes in Personal Accountability
I see less and less of this in players today. It seems like everyone wants to point the finger at somebody else when things don’t go their way. Coachable players don’t see failure as being final, rather they see it as an opportunity to improve. This enables them to look within themselves for solutions instead of playing the blame game.
Sees The Difference Between Criticism and Instruction
Often times coaches will say, “Listen to what I say, how I say it.” Even if if the message is delivered in the most polite way, It’s never easy for a hard working player to accept that there are further changes that need to be made. Players should realize that good coaches don’t play “gotcha.” They aren’t looking for reason to punish players. They are looking for ways to help their players improve.
Offers No Excuses… No Explanations
Coachable players listen completely to what their coach is saying instead of interrupting him. Even if a player keeps his mouth shut while a coach is making a teaching point, they often times are listing excuses/explanations in their head while the coach is talking. Coachable players want to hear what the coach has to say, because they want to get better.
Focuses on His Own Performance Not Others
Coachable players focus on their own game and look at themselves instead of pointing the finger at their teammates or their coach to justify their lagging performance. Players should realize that just because a teammate is makes a mistake, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t correct their own mistake.
Communicates Effectively With His Coach
There will be times when the coach says something in practice that a player doesn’t understand. When this happens, a coachable player realizes that he has just as much responsibility as the coach to take care of the misunderstanding. A coachable player should always make sure that communication is clear.