Monday, 22 Jul 2024

Coaching with Confidence: Building Trust and Success


Fear can be a powerful motivator, but when it comes to coaching, it often does more harm than good. As coaches, our role extends beyond just teaching skills and tactics. We have the opportunity to build confidence and trust within our teams, empowering our players to reach their full potential. In this article, we will explore the importance of coaching with confidence, providing guidance and support rather than instilling fear.

The Impact of Fear in Coaching

Coaches who rely on fear as a coaching tool may believe that it will push their players to perform better. However, this approach often backfires. When players constantly feel threatened or belittled, they lose trust in their coach. This loss of trust can have a detrimental effect on the team’s overall performance and unity.

It’s essential to remember that, as coaches, we are teachers first and foremost. Like teachers, we should aim to build confidence in our students (players) and foster an environment of trust and support. While competition naturally brings its own stress and pressure, our role as coaches is to alleviate that stress, not add to it.

The Power of Trust and Belief

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When players trust their coach, they are more likely to believe in themselves. This belief is crucial, especially during challenging moments in a game. As coaches, we can provide guidance and support to help our players overcome obstacles. Choosing to inspire them rather than instilling fear through threats or harsh words is a principle of good coaching.

Losing a match can already be a stressful experience for players, so it’s essential for them to feel that their coach believes in them. Doubting themselves only compounds the pressure they face. By offering unwavering support and belief, we can help our players develop a “holy hand grenade of confidence” that will carry them through both successes and failures.

Embracing Failure as a Path to Success

In the sport of volleyball, every point scored is, in some way, a “fail” for one team. Acknowledging this reality is crucial for coaches. We must let our players know that it’s okay to fail but ensure they understand that they are never failures themselves.

Resilience becomes a defining factor in selecting players for high-level competition. The ability to handle errors and the ups and downs of the game sets apart those who thrive under pressure. As coaches, we can nurture this resilience by creating a safe space where players feel comfortable taking risks and learning from their mistakes.

The Role of Fear in Achievement

Regina Dugan, former director of DARPA, shared a powerful message during her TED Talk. She explained that her agency’s achievements were born out of a mindset that embraced the possibility of failure rather than fearing it. Failure, she argued, pushes us to surpass ourselves and unlock our true potential.

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While fear can be used as a tool to “teach,” it rarely leads to greatness or a desire for deliberate practice. Punishment and intimidation may yield short-term results, but they do not foster a passion for the game or personal growth. Coaches who prioritize joy, passion, and confidence can create a lasting impact on their players’ development.

Celebrating Success and Looking Ahead

Success in coaching is not solely measured by wins and losses. It is about nurturing a positive environment where players can thrive and develop both as athletes and individuals. By prioritizing behaviors that set our teams up for success, we can help our players face challenges with courage and determination.

In conclusion, coaching with confidence means placing trust in our players and believing in their abilities. When we prioritize support, encouragement, and the joy of competition, we create an environment where our players can flourish. Let us remember the lessons learned from great leaders like Winston Churchill and instill in our teams the belief that they can overcome any obstacle. So, let’s lead with confidence, celebrate successes, embrace failures, and build a team that is ready to take on any challenge.


1. How can I build trust with my players?
Building trust starts with creating a safe and supportive environment. Show genuine care for your players, listen to their concerns, and provide constructive feedback. Consistency, transparency, and leading by example are also crucial.

2. How can I help my players embrace failure?
Encourage a growth mindset among your players, emphasizing that failure is a natural part of the learning process. Provide guidance on how to learn from mistakes, and celebrate the effort and resilience shown by players, regardless of the outcome.

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3. What if my players are already doubting themselves?
Reinforce your belief in them through positive affirmations and personalized feedback. Help them identify their strengths and encourage them to focus on continuous improvement rather than dwelling on past mistakes.

4. How can I create a positive team culture?
Promote open communication, collaboration, and inclusivity within the team. Encourage players to support and uplift one another, fostering a sense of unity and shared purpose.


Coaching with confidence is a powerful approach that can transform both the performance and team dynamics. By prioritizing trust, belief, and support, we can guide our players to reach their full potential. Embracing failure as a stepping stone to success and celebrating every milestone along the way will create a lasting impact on our athletes. So, let’s lead with confidence, inspire with passion, and create a team that is ready to conquer any challenge.

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