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Coaches Whiteboard: What it really means to be a "coachable athlete"

From New York to California and everywhere in between we asked coaches of all levels to share what it means to be a coachable athlete. This compilation is a unique insight into what coaches want to see from their athletes beyond goals, points, and fast times. As an athlete, ask yourself... are you doing these things? What can you improve upon? And as a parent... are you encouraging these traits? Are you allowing your child to be coached?

Paul O'Connor- KING Hoops Coach/Director and Former DI Coach

Coach Paul O'Connor- KING Hoops
"Being coachable to me is all about two things: not taking correction personally and the ability to take critical feedback and then directly applying that feedback into the game. It means being an extension of the coach on the court, being even keeled, never getting too high and never getting too low. To me being coachable is a simple as this Doc Rivers quote, "Good players want to be coached, great players want to be told the truth"."

Wilson Rose- Kids in the Game Coach of Physical Literacy and School of the Blessed Sacrament Middle School Basketball Team

Coach Wilson Rose- Coach of Physical Literacy
"Coach-ability at its core is the desire to learn. Working with youth in sports is most rewarding when an athlete learns how to take works and put then into actions. When young athletes show the innate passion for learning how their bodies work and accept the challenge of how to put coaching feedback into movements, coaches jobs are easy. The more malleable and curious the mind, the more coachable the athlete!"

Connor Gandossy- Current DI Baseball Coach - St. Louis University

"A coachable baseball is someone open to advice or criticism in order to develop their craft/skills. Sports are a forever adapting game, players must be sponges in order to better their careers."

Tatum Boehnke - Former DI Swim Coach- Northern Colorado

Coach Tatum Boehnke- UNC Bears
"To me being a coachable athlete means no eye rolls, pouty lips or crossed arms. You may think that your coach can't see these mannerisms or that they don't matter, but believe me, they do. Body language is one of the easiest indications of which athletes are ready to listen, ready to learn, and ultimately ready to become a better athlete. Be careful of what your expressions and posture are saying because they often say more than words. Coachable athletes make eye contact and react with positive stance."

Katherine Higuera-Mccoy- KING Spikes Head Volleyball Coach

Coach Kat- KING Spikes
"There is a big difference when you are "forced" to do a sport and don't have the drive or passion for it. For my girls playing volleyball, coaching them is a pleasure and easier because they want to be there. They continue to ask questions and look for feedback. Most importantly these athletes try to find ways to improve in the sport. They are coachable athletes because of their positive attitudes and how they work actively together."

Mats Boehnke - FIS Coach - Mammoth Mountain and USA Western Region Development Coach

Coach Mats Boehnke- MMSST Coach
"Ski racing, arguably, has the most peaks and valleys of any sport. Athletes can go from the top of the podium one day to literally crashing into a net the next. Some race runs feel fast but turn out to be slow while others feel awful and turn out to be super fast. It's a mental roller-coaster that can discourage even the most mentally tough. Being a coachable athlete mens someone that can stay positive and even keeled despite the frustrations. An athlete works hard during the low times but harder during the high times. Most importantly, a coachable athlete means respecting the sports, dreaming of success and working as hard as you can to get "there."

Alicen Fair - Elementary and Middle School Coach - ACES Swim Team

"So much of competitive swimming is centered around perfect technique. If you can commit to perfect technique during a hard practice, it will translate to more effective strokes. This ultimately leads to faster times at meets. To me, being a coachable athlete in the pool is putting effort into bettering your craft. It's easy to get corrections from a coach but it is much harder to actually apply those corrections. When I see athletes putting in effort to better technique, I know they are a coachable athlete."  

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