McCray, Mack discuss balance in keeping players motivated, heads held high

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By: Joey Lamar | WCTV Eyewitness Sports
April 22, 2020

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) -- One of the hardest jobs for a coach is keeping players motivated, especially players that are not receiving the playing time they expected.

Every player wants to be on the court, field or floor, but if they receive less, than the amount of playing time the effect can take a toll.

"We put these players on the team," said Lincoln girls basketball coach Rod Mack. "There's something that we see that they can bring to the team and to the program."

Many times, there is a disconnect between the coaches' vision for a player and a player's vision for themselves.

"If you do a good job of setting the expectations within your program," Godby head football coach Brandon McCray said, "Then kids will know exactly what's expected of them."

Coach Mack worries about players getting down when they do not see immediate results.

"Players have to know what is it I'm supposed to be doing for this team," Mack said. "What is it that I bring to table? And not every player knows exactly what they bring to the table. You have to be one of those coaches who does not mind telling a player this is what you do best for us."

During a busy season, coaches are juggling a full plate, so they might not notice a player's change in behavior.

Which is one reason why Mack stresses communication.

"Find out why they're having the issues," Mack said. "Some kids are really hard on themselves and coaches and parents don't really understand how much pressure players put on themselves sometimes."

Coaches also have to distinguish if their player pouting or is an upset competitor.

"I have an open door policy with our players and parents for them to come in," McCray said. "So they are heard by myself and the assistant coaches. The coaches that actually coach the kid."

Both coaches said they only speak for their programs. They also said most coaches are willing to talk when players and parents have concerns.