Author Haochen Hsueh is a Graduate Assistant Strength & Conditioning Coach at Springfield College.
Before coming to Springfield College to pursue a master’s degree in strength and conditioning, I worked in the private sector coaching clients 1-on-1 for three years. It’s pretty different, and it took me some time to switch roles. When coaching in a big team setting, a challenge for many of us is voice volume to ensure clear communication. How can my athletes clearly hear what I am saying in the noisy weight room? In this article, I will provide a couple of step-by-step strategies that I tried, which helped me project my voice loudly and clearly.
1. Practice Projecting on a Field
In the beginning, I went to the football field with a partner who stood at the goal line. I stood at the 5-yard line and said a simple coaching sentence. “In A block, we are going to do safety bar squat.” The goal was for my partner to hear what I said clearly; if he could hear it clearly, then I would move back five yards more to the 10-yard line, 15-yard line, 20-yard line… until he couldn’t hear my voice clearly. During this activity, there was no interference and no actual coaching. I just purely projected my voice louder and louder.
2. Practice in the Noisy Weight Room
Next, I put myself in a noisy environment. I went into the weight room where the music was blasting, med balls were slamming, and chains were rattling. In this activity, I simply yelled out my partner’s name loud and clear enough to let him hear me across the weight room.
3. Project in Daily Life
After this, I focused on projecting my voice during daily life. If we continually practice projecting our voice, it will become natural. This can be simple as greeting others or having conversations in a noisy dining hall or weight room. To focus on continuing to improve, I found every opportunity to practice projecting my voice.
After all this practice, I could now project my voice loudly, but could I keep that loud voice while coaching? Realistically, no. Thus, I tried diving deep into the issue and found the reason. One of the main reasons is that I lacked confidence. I asked myself, then, what can I do to speak with more confidence? The first step is to get into a confident posture.
4. Maintain Confident Posture
Simple but effective. Instead of rounding my back, crossing my arm in front of my chest, and keeping my eyes down, I tried to stand tall, chest up, and open my arms before going to coach the team. This simple action went a long way in building my confidence before each coaching session.
5. Be 120% Prepared
What else can I do to decrease the feeling of nervousness and show confidence while coaching? That is to be 120% prepared. Before coaching, visualize each of the training blocks. I would figure out if there was something that might not go well. I would visualize myself coaching confidently. And, I would ask questions and communicate with the other coaches before the session started. The more well-prepared I was, the more confident I became. The more confident I became, the louder I coached.
6. Be Yourself!
Projecting the voice louder doesn’t mean that you must be a “rah rah” coach if you are not one. If you are not being yourself, you are not going to feel comfortable when coaching, which will lead to lack of confidence, being quiet, and less impactful to the athletes.
7. Keep Practicing!
It won’t be perfect the first time, even the second or third time; we will never be perfect. However, we can keep practicing, and we will consistently get better each time. We will learn from our mistakes, but we will also learn from our successes.
Follow the steps and keep practicing; you will confidently find your voice in the weight room and as a coach!
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