“Leadership is a matter of having people look at you and gain confidence…If you’re in control, they’re in control.”
—Tom Landry, Head Coach Dallas Cowboys (1960-88)
Model what you want to see.
Optimism is important for your athletes. If you, as the coach, don’t believe, then why should they? Through positivity, you have the ability to become the heart of the team. Allow yourself to be passionate about the game, the players, and about winning. If your athletes feel your genuine optimism, they will follow you into battle with confidence.
Be intense...but don’t get this confused with being angry. Go ahead and yell, but make it a success driven expression. You have to establish that you believe in your players so when you do become passionate, they know it’s because you believe they can do it. Make them feel like failure is not an option. Celebrate your team's success. It doesn’t need to be an extravagant celebration...just a short burst of acknowledgment and approval. Expressing intensity is a huge motivator for athletes.
Finishing a block, a tackle, a play, a practice, etc. is necessary if you want to stand a chance at winning and have that culture you are looking for. It shows discipline, grit, and tenacity. If you expect them to finish something, make sure they don't get off the hook. It creates a culture of respect, completeness, and structure.
Make your players finishers...it's difficult to beat a team that finishes every block, every tackle, and every game. This is on YOU. How they train, how they practice, and how they treat the game is a reflection of your impression on them. You have to take control of what they think about, and how they think about it. It’s a lot easier said than done, but the rewards far outweigh the risk.