Developing a Powerful Connection with Your Players

By Ron Wolforth-


Want to Develop A Powerful Connection with Your Players?

It’s Possible by Using the Power of Three Simple Concepts

  1. Humility
  2. Empathy
  3. Clarity




Constantly demonstrate to your athletes that, as their coach and their leader, you are open, teachable, respectful, modest, self-effacing, and deferential.


Nothing damages team culture faster than arrogance, self-importance, vanity, exploitation, manipulation, autocracy, contempt, and ego. 


Recommended Action: Model for your athletes on a daily basis the qualities and behaviors you would like to see them demonstrate for you, their teammates, their school, and their communities. Constantly share with them the “Why” of what they are doing instead of just the “How”. 


Young American men in 1944 stormed the beaches of Normandy and Iwo Jima against tremendous resistance, not simply because of an order from a superior, but for their brothers, their families at home, and for freedom vs. tyranny, evil, and oppression.


Great leaders are made so not because of their ability to impose pressure to make those in their charge comply or the adeptness to manipulate the situation, but rather because they inspire and arouse the implicit truth that lay just below the surface… that we are always at our very best when our lives are about something bigger than ourselves.


If you demonstrate true servant leadership… your athletes will happily and proudly follow you into battle.


If you are an authoritarian and an autocrat… your athletes will protect themselves first.



“Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others,
it is the only means.”

– Albert Einstein




Stephen Covey’s 5th Habit of Highly Effective People is, “seek to understand before seeking to be understood”. This is the very essence of empathy, to understand the perspective and viewpoint of the person in which I’m interacting with and hoping to inspire and influence.


If we interact with our players solely from our frame of reference and our state of mind, then our decisions will often be viewed by our players as one-sided, biased, and/or heavy-handed.


We as coaches don’t have to agree with or pardon each player’s behavior in order to at least understand the situation they are in.


The old cliché is, “players will never care how much you know until they know how much you care”.


Recommended Action: Practice empathy and seek to understand before seeking to be understood. Make it a habit to both mentally and emotionally consider the perspective, viewpoint, and path each and every athlete has taken on their way to their current behavior.


You will not believe the rapport and connection you will build with your athletes when they know in their heart of hearts you are genuine, humble, and you routinely practice empathy and understand things from their perspective.




The opposite of clarity is vagueness and ambiguity.


When people are unclear, confused, bewildered, and /or unsure, a vast, vast majority will pull back, hesitate, waiver, and protect themselves. They certainly are far less likely to push through, double their efforts, or extend themselves.


Knowing exactly what I’m doing and precisely why I’m doing it is the only way I know how to truly undertake deep, deliberate practice and accelerated growth.  If your players are EVER unclear or uncertain on an activity’s purpose, process, or goal, they simply will never perform as well.


Recommended Action: Clarity is not a small thing; it is a huge difference maker. Routinely ask your players WHY they are doing the drill or going through this specific process. What’s the ultimate goal of this activity and are we being true to this intention? Do we know precisely what is good execution and process? Can we teach and explain to others our process?


Practice doesn’t make perfect, practice makes permanent. Training corruption is dangerous and is everywhere… even in exceptional processes. The ONLY way I know of to assure continual growth and incremental advancement is to make clarity a daily undertaking in your program.



Until Next Time,


Stay Curious and Keep Fighting the Good Fight!



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P.S. The Ranch will be hiring 5 interns this summer (June- August). If you’d like to be considered for one of the positions, send your resume to:


Ron Wolforth’s Texas Baseball Ranch
Summer Intern Application
5451 Honea Egypt Road
Montgomery TX, 77316


or email it to


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