Communication is an every day occurrence that happens with ourselves and others, and sometimes we do this in every hour of the day while we are awake, whether we know it or not. The ability to consciously communicate a clear message without the possibility of miss interpretation takes a conscious effort and becomes easier with practice.
Types of Communication
The following are some things that directly effect affect the way we communicate:
- the audience
- your relationship with the audience
- the desired outcome of the message
- two way communication
Most of us communicate with everyone the same way, and believe that everyone understands what we are saying. You might find that communicating with team mates or coaches is different than communicating with your best friend or your family. For example, when you want to get help from your coach with your skills, you’ll need to be specific in telling him/her what you need. Your communications will be with a specific message or request. If you are communicating with umpires, you need to be professional and respectful of their position and importance in the game. You might also communicate differently with your teammates, depending on the situation and the culture of your team.
Your Relationship with the Recipient
If you are new to a team, you might be more hesitant to be open and speak freely until you feel more comfortable with your team mates. You might be nervous with the coach, or not even talk to umpires while you are finding your way through competitions, training and getting to know everyone.
Knowing exactly what the message is that you are trying to get across is not always enough to make sure that the receiver is hearing and understanding what you are trying to say. By learning how to communicate using clear messages, and even by using non verbal communication, you will be able to express your thoughts and then be open if the receiver has any questions or needs to clarify. It’s important to allow the receiver to ask questions if they need to and to be open to others opinions and viewpoints. At the end of a conversation, you might not agree with the recipient and that is ok. However you will need to decide what you are going to do with that feeling if you need to. It all depends on the desired outcome and the importance of that outcome.
Two Way Communication
The ability to listen and hear a message is important to making sure that you are participating as effectively as you can within the conversation. Listening with an open mind will also contribute to your success in the exchange. Often people listen to someone but as they are hearing what they are saying, they are formulating their response or making a judgement on what’s being said before the sentence is finished. It is important to listen all the way through and even ask questions if you are not entirely sure of the message being given.
It is also easy when receiving a message, to take things personally that are not meant to be personal. Make sure you are very informed of the intent of your conversations with others before making any judgements. Explore the different aspects of communication in your environment on and off the playing field. Observe others communication strategies and their effectiveness and then record your own thoughts on the notes pages and the communication tool.
There are three types of communication we use whether we are aware of it or not. They include:
- physical (non-verbal)
- Verbal Communication
The chosen use of words can be done either effectively or ineffectively. It is important to even rehearse what you are going to say if you need to discuss something with someone that has any potential to be misinterpreted. When communicating in general, it is important to be clear and to be open to questions and clarification from the receiver;
People are always reading and reacting to each other. In softball, there are so many emotions that it is very easy to read someone’s body language louder than their words, and take things the wrong way. Someone could be angry about a play that was made or believe an error was made, and you might think they are angry at you due to the way they brushed past you. It is important that, unless verbal communication was directed specifically at you along with the non-verbal communication that you experienced or witnessed, you do not take things personally. If you need to clarify the message you are interpreting, do it when the receiver will be receptive and not feeling threatened
There is nothing more fun to watch than someone who is smiling because they are happy with their performance or something that they accomplished. As the saying is, “it’s written all over their face.”
Emails, Facebook, Twitter, text messages and old fashioned written notes, are all forms of written communication. The biggest downfall of this type of communication is, that much like if you say something, you can not take the words back once they are delivered. How many times have you pushed the send button and said to yourself, “oh oh.”
Communicating and Youth
It is sometimes hard for children to say what they want because they might not know all the words to describe their message. It can be very frustrating for young softball players when they feel like they are not being heard. That is when non-verbal communication might be used more in the form of actions and reactions that might not even have anything to do with what they are trying to get across. I encourage youngsters to experiment and to try to use less words if they can. Short and simple is the best way to prevent any confusion.
Allow youngsters to ask as many questions as they want. Eventually, they will come to the answer they are looking for. The way they put words together will probably not be like our sentences so it is important to ask questions without moving away from the initial conversation.
Communication and the Adolescent
It is not easy for adolescents to trust adults or even each other at times. When communicating with adolescents, it’s critical that adults do not judge the message and proceed to ask questions if unsure. Parents and coaches need to make sure that adolescents feel comfortable to communicate without feeling afraid of being honest and open. Honesty and openness should be encouraged without repercussions. This will go very far in building relationships
Most of us have had all of our lives to learn how to communicate. However that does not mean however that we are good at it. The best way to make sure your message is getting to the recipient, is to ask or clarify that they understand the message if there is any doubt. This should be done in a way that does not judge their abilities, but in a way that says you are simply wanting to make sure you communicated the message correctly. You would be amazed at how appreciative others are when you do not blame them for not getting the message.
Practice Makes You Better
You will definitely get better at communicating with conscious effort. However, you can not control the experience of the recipient but you can ask questions and learn to be aware of your body language or non verbal communication as much as your verbal communication. Be open to feedback and try to understand if someone is having difficulty getting the message. Be patient and creative if you need to.