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Despite the proclivity of coaches throughout sports, there are only a handful of truly great coaches. But what makes the difference between a decent coach and one that stands above the rest? Here are four tips for being a great coach.

1. Be Prepared

How can your team take the court or field and be in the best position to win if they aren’t prepared? Knowing the opposition is one of the most crucial aspects of the game. Make sure that you are as prepared as you can possibly be. Also, make sure that your team follows suit before hitting the field.

2. Believe in Your Team

Expectations play an important role in sports. That’s not to say that you should have impossible goals laid out for your team but believing in them is an essential part to having success as a coach. When you believe in your team, it permeates throughout the team. On the same hand, if you don’t believe in your team, that can be felt in ripples throughout the team as well.

3. Set Clear Goals

Great teams aren’t born overnight. They also do not achieve worldly goals instantaneously. Set clear milestones and goals but make sure that they are tangible. More importantly, take the time to celebrate when you hit those goals. Part of building confidence is ensuring that the team develops and grows as a unit. Hitting those milestones is a great way to build confidence and develop the unit.

4. Encourage

Some coaches believe in relentless criticism to get the best out of their teams. But relentless criticism also has a way of wearing on even those with the strongest wills. That is not to say that you need to coddle players, but there is a fine line between criticism and breaking a player down.

Take the time to encourage players. Let them know what they are doing right instead of simply what they are doing wrong. You will find that it keeps players from getting mentally worn down.