Respect has always served as the foundation of any productive coach-athlete relationship, but the dynamics of coaching have changed over the courses of the careers of Cal State Fullerton’s head coaches.
While they say athletes were previously approached with more rigid structure and stricter rules, Titans Head Coaches George Kuntz, Rick Vanderhook and Dedrique Taylor have found that coaching millennials requires different techniques.
“In the past, it was ‘You’re going to do this.’ It was basically ‘My way or the highway,’” Kuntz said.
Taylor and Vanderhook said in the past, all players would be treated the same, and coaches were far more intense than they are now.
“When I grew up, not that long ago, but obviously a long time ago, the message was way more harsh. It was more direct, and there was no care and concern about your feelings,” Taylor said.
Now, CSUF coaches are focused on the vital component of establishing a relationship with every one of their players.
“It’s quite obvious that you have to coach a different way now, and one of the most dramatic differences is really learning more about your student-athletes,” Kuntz said. “To show that you care first to build a trust so that when you have to coach or teach or demand, there is an understanding that you care.”
Even beyond just their impact on the game, Titans head coaches feel these relationships and trust make success possible because of the way they motivate players.
“You have to let them know that you love them and you care for them,” Vanderhook said. “These guys together here with us spend more time with us than they do their families for the next year. So you got to have some trust built in there.”
The trio of coaches said the relationships are essential to work cohesively with their players and …