Here’s a “no-brainer” that a coach must always remember: leaders affect the behavior of the would-be/should-be followers. Let me express it in another way: players follow the coach’s lead. If the leadership is misguided, the “followers” will be lost – in a variety of ways. Or they will choose not to follow.
Make no mistake about it, athletes not only need effective leadership, they also desire it. Young people want consistent parameters, direction, order, structure, organization, and discipline (to be defined and discussed in a later chapter). They need it, whether they know it or not. It gives them security, and that, in turn helps them to be more confident.
A leader who knows how to manage athletics can direct their mental and behavioral efforts toward a common goal – a goal established by the leader. This becomes the organizational/team credo. “What we stand for” is the way I put it with players. “What we want and how we go about pursuing it.”
The credo should be one of his first expression of position power. I have light-heartedly told teams at initial meetings. “We are a controlled democracy here. You have the freedom to do whatever you want – as long as I approve.”
From “Coaching The Mental Game” by H.A. Dorfman