A friend shared this parenting article with me and I of course drew the parallel to coaching. The gist is that kids respond better to requests like, “please be a helper” than to requests like, “please help me.” http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/04/30/308045913/to-get-help-from-a-little-kid-ask-the-right-way

For coaching, I think the language is also important. How would the results differ if we used nouns instead of verbs?

Some examples:

  • “I need you to be a soccer player. Soccer players aren’t afraid to head the ball.”
  • On a conditioning exercise or technical activity, “don’t be a cheater” will resonate more than “don’t cheat.”
  • “I need 4 soccer players to demonstrate this next activity.”
  • “I need 4 helpers to pick up all the cones.”
  • “Are you a soccer player, or are you just someone playing soccer?”