by Marilyn Norcross
(Master Practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programing )

I believe coaches are some of the most important people in the world. They are our leaders and are in a position to touch many people’s lives.

The word teacher has its roots in the Latin word meaning ‘to lead” or to “draw out”. Good teachers draw out the best in every student. Coaches and parents who build their children’s strength find that they grow in responsibility almost daily.

Children become what they think you think of them. It is the attitude of the coaches that can make a difference and it is pleasure and fun in learning that equals improvement.

A coach is a role model who can encourage and support skaters into succeeding by forever saying “You can do it” convincing them there isn’t anything they can’t do! If a child senses a coach doesn’t care then the child doesn’t care. When a coach focuses on what is good and what works, their skater is in a good frame of mind that keeps them receptive to problem solving.

It is important to understand the source of pain or pleasure. Our self-esteem is tied to our ability to feel that we’re in control of the events in our environment. It is imperative that simple and effective rules are established and are communicated to skaters and parents.

One thing all good competitive coaches have in common is that they set high standards for themselves and their skaters and do not settle for less. They are committed to living, and being more, by tapping into their God given power thereby teaching children to do the same and to take responsibility for their own lives.

Effective coaching centers around love: love that doesn’t tolerate disrespect but also love that is powerful enough to allow kids to make mistakes. Don’t ever be afraid of making mistakes. If you can’t make mistakes, you can’t make anything. Learn from them and problem solve. This is a very important issue for enhancing self confidence, rapid learning and high self-esteem.

In order to be more successful in dealing with negative and limiting behavior, you must use your ability to influence other people. How? Successful people create rapport and rapport creates trust. When you use these skills, you begin building bridges to understanding others better.

People like people who are like themselves. We want to commune with people who are like us, who see the world in the same way as we do, who have similar likes and dislikes. Unfortunately this doesn’t happen all the time. This is where rapport is absolutely imperative.

I believe coaches are some of the most important people in the world. They are our leaders and are in a position to touch many people’s lives.

When a person likes you, they tend to want to agree with you. Children have minds of their own and have a right to exert their independence and do their own thinking. If we want to pass our values onto them, we must present these values in a way that our skaters can accept them, by our actions and our words. They won’t accept what we try to drive into their heads with lecturing and yelling.

Rapport Tips:

Before getting angry or getting sucked into their problem, remember it’s their problem. Don’t take it on!

Try the following:

1) Empathy messages. Let them know you care, so they trust you. Listen with understanding, gathering information and identify the child’s feelings.

2) Work out new courses of action: The secret to handling whining, disrespectful and negative behavior is to let children know that negative behavior is unacceptable. They will get no results until their behavior changes. Without anger in your voice, firmly give the child multiple choices. This gives them the ability to problem solve and take responsibility for their actions. Have them talk in terms of what they do want. The more specific they can be, the better. A good question from coach to skater is ,if you don’t want that, what do you want?


A) When you decide to talk with respect, I will be glad to listen to you. If their behavior changes great, if not:

  • 1) Would you like to go home, go into the other room or take your skates off?
  • 2) Come back when you have a better attitude and make a list of desired qualities in the person you want to be (calm, confident, enthusiastic).

B) When the child changes behavior let them know you care and love them and believe that they’re able to change. Let them know you are on their side and you will correct and disagree with them some of the time because you care so much and don’t want them to settle for less than they can be. Continue to build on this new desired self image of the skater and praise little changes.

Reprinted with premission from :

The Professional Skater Magazine
September / October 1996 – pp. 11 – 12.
©1996 by Professional Skaters Association

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