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Listen to What the Match Is Telling You

Scan the body language of each player immediately following an error. This will tell you who is fully engaged and who isn’t.

Coaches are frequently consumed with their own self-anointed routines, content to stay within their scripted behavioral paradigms. If you think you might be one of those coaches, here’s a suggestion: Next time your team plays, arrive at the bench with a commitment to “listen” to the match. In my experience, the match has a lot to say to you.

Here’s an example from my coaching career: My team was down 2 sets to none, and my players were leaving the court to attend the traditional mid-match meeting. We needed to find a way to climb back into contention. As my staff paused in the outer hall before going inside the locker room, they were steaming with anger. They wanted me to come down hard on the team for playing so poorly, but I asked them to hold off. I had been watching our players enter the meeting. 

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