I live by a triumvirate of Cs when working with athletes, whatever level they are. I'm always working on each piece of that big C puzzle because every aspect can always improve.
Coach humans. Coach athletes. Coach skaters.
I don't just coach the skills, though those are nice and easy and defined. It's so easy to coach a nice pretty plow stop. There are clear success measures. You can define them, hear them, see them, and, most importantly, correct them. All nice and straightforward.
I also aim to coach the person. To develop the drive, persistence, determination, free thought, engagement, and love of the sport. To coach the self-belief, the desire, the understanding of what it means to be an athlete.
The two cannot be separated. Every discussion about skill will impact the person. And every word I speak in my role as coach is taken as intention.
In every part of my existence, Communication is the epitome of and driver of success. It is not always easy (particularly when project managing IT people, trust me) and it is not always pleasant (particularly when explaining to a skater why they haven't made a roster) but long term it will build a team.
Communication helps us live our values as skaters, as teammates, and as coaches.
Things that are very very hard without honest and direct communication:
You can see where I'm going with this. But I'm pretty sure that the majority of derby drama can be avoided by bringing better communication into the picture. G'wan and challenge me. But iDerby doesn't count. Seriously. That is not communication.
Confidence for skaters and confidence for coaches - absolutely hand-in-hand. Confident coaches build confident skaters. Confidence means we're better prepared to accept challenge and take on feedback. Confidence gives us a baseline to build a collaboration between coach and athlete, to listen to each other, and try new things.
And you know what helps build confidence for coaches and athletes? COMMUNICATION! Yes. It all comes full circle. Also external validation. Sometimes having someone else who is not your mom tell you you're doing the right thing can definitely help.