How Coachable Are You?

Are you coachable? 

I used to hate being told that I was doing something wrong… I just wanted to do everything perfectly! Fortunately I have come to realise that sport is made up of many mental challenges, which we often bring upon ourselves.

Have ever been given feedback which felt like it was a personal attack on you?

Have you ever given feedback to someone else and it’s like you’ve hit a brick wall because they just start to blame everything else?

You are not alone, this is very common and pretty much every person goes through this at some point.

Receiving critisism can be tough at times whether it is in the classroom, at work, by family members or on the sports field. But, being able to receive advice and feedback from others is such a vital component of growth. We call this coachability.

What does coachability mean?

Coachability is a mentality or attitude that a player has towards receiving criticism, their openness to be corrected and the willingness to use it to improve. Becoming more coachable isn’t something that can be achieved by doing more drills or learning new skills. Coachability is up to the player, not the coach.

Coachability is a trait that a lot of coaches look for in players.

But, most of the time players don’t even realise that they’re not being coachable.

Most people assume that they are coachable but I want you to be honest with yourself here. It’s actually automatic human nature to be uncoachable, so you have to work at it to become more coachable. Knowing this helps to identify if we’re coachable or not.

A coachable player is someone who:

  • is grateful that someone cares enough to try help them to improve beyond what they can do on their own
  • is open to hear honest feedback (even if they don’t like it)
  • is willing to admit their mistakes
  • recognises and works on improving bad habits

Coaches can spot uncoachable players a mile away by their behavior and it is difficult for coaches to get players to become coachable as it has to come from the player themselves.

An uncoachable player is someone who:

  • doesn’t want others to help them or give them feedback
  • reads deeply into things or takes things too personally
  • tends to roll their eyes 
  • take offense to things even when it’s not about them

Often uncoachable players will blame other things for their mistakes or failures. In fact, some are shocked when they realise that it isn’t the coaches fault, it isn’t the teams fault, or their equipment, but it’s actually them.

Why be more coachable?

Like I said before we are naturally more uncoachable even though we tend to believe that we are coachable. We all have a bit of uncoachable nature within us so we need to keep working on it in order to grow and keep developing. Here are a few reasons to become more coachable:

  • Get on better with team mates & coaches
  • Get more playing time
  • Improve and learn things faster
  • More peace of mind
  • Better overall performance

It doesn’t matter how effective your coach is, if you aren’t coachable you’ll get much less out of yourself than what you are capable of doing.

3 ways that you can be more coachable:

1. Don’t assume you’re coachable

Ask others for their honest opinion of whether they think you are coachable or not. Promise not to be offended by what they say and don’t be, remember they are trying to help. Take their feedback on board so that you can start to be more aware of it and try to catch yourself out when you freak out the next time someone gives you feedback.

2. Listen

Be willing to listen to the advice or suggestions that others have. The most dangerous thing you can think or say is: “I already know it”  – you will never learn anything new with this attitude. Even if you already understand the concept there are still many ways to still learn from someone else’s perspective or experience.

3. Be open minded

There are often more than one way to do things so before shooting down suggestions or ideas of why something won’t work, first try it for yourself and give it a fair chance, you may be surprised. Be willing to consider and explore different possibilities.


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About The Author

Lauren Penny

Lauren is a former International Hockey Player, Performance Coach & Mentor specialising in helping hockey players to be more confident, improve their fitness and perform more consistently to get noticed and reach higher teams.


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