Good Things Happen When Lines of Communication Are Open

Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), October 1, 1999 | Go to article overview

Good Things Happen When Lines of Communication Are Open


Byline: Bob Frisk Asst. Managing Editor/Sports

How many times have you heard someone try to explain a mistake by saying, "There was a failure to communicate?"

In real life, that failure may occur between a husband and wife, parent and child, employer and employee, or just good friends.

In sports, that failure to communicate may develop between the coach and player or parent, coach and assistant coach, coach and administrator, or even player and teammate.

Whatever the reason or parties involved, that failure often can lead to serious consequences.

I'm in the communication business, and, frankly, I can't say we're perfect at the Daily Herald. I've also seen things slip through the cracks at this newspaper because the lines of communication break down.

We should know better. If we're communicators by profession, then why can't we communicate?

Good, intelligent communication is vital in just about everything, not just sports.

As an adult - and an aging one, at that - I can understand the communication aspect better from a high school coach's viewpoint than a player. That's how I'll tackle this subject today.

What are the best ways for coaches to approach this communication business with their young athletes?

And what are the best ways for the athletes to respond?

I'll never forget the first-day-of-practice story I heard from a new coach, explaining how he "communicated" to the athletes.

He was meeting many of the players for the first time, including the incoming freshmen.

Before the young players settled into their seats in the locker room the coach had strategically placed a wastepaper basket in one aisle.

After all the players arrived, he made his entrance.

He "stumbled" on the basket, "lost" his temper and kicked the basket across the room, making sure he didn't hit any athletes.

He then threw down his clipboard and yelled as loud as he could, "Who put that wastepaper basket in my way?"

The coach said later he rarely had any trouble keeping order in team meetings after that. When he walked in, the room suddenly became quiet and the athletes listened to every word.

I can't say I'm in favor of using theatrics to communicate to athletes. I'm also sure that once the word got out, that basket "act" didn't work with future groups.

However, it does show how some people will go to great lengths to communicate even tone and expectations.

For me, communication is more than theatrics and talking. It also involves listening. And understanding. And believing. …

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Good Things Happen When Lines of Communication Are Open
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